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Early 2007 Sales Show LCDs Outselling Plasma Two-to-one

Mar 19, 2007 12:00 PM

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Flatpanel displays continued their pricing freefall during January, with average street prices for 30in. or larger TVs skidding another three percent over a highly competitive December, according to a report released by Pacific Media Associates, a global display market research firm.

The drop in average selling price partially reflects consumers’ preferences for smaller models in January. According to Alfred Poor, senior research associate at Pacific Media, the shift to smaller screen sizes is attributable to more price-sensitive buyers, purchases for secondary rooms, and heavy discounting of the category at retail.

January also marked a turning point in the LCD vs. plasma battle. LCD outsold plasma models by a two-to-one margin, posting the largest lead LCD has taken over plasma to date. The report says LCD models accounted for 14 of the top 20 best-selling flatpanel models in the 30in. or larger category in January, compared with six of the top 20 models in January 2006.

The top-selling model, though, was the heavily discounted Panasonic TH-50PX600U 50in. plasma TV, which priced at 7.5-percent below its December average street price. In January, the 50in. plasma rang up at an average $2,382, compared with $2,574 in December.

The hottest selling screen size was the 32in. WXGA (1366x768) LCD segment, which represented 23 percent of the units sold in the January sample of North American retailers, resellers and distributors. Average price in the category dropped eight percent to an average street price of $900.

According to the report, the 37in. WXGA LCD TV segment took a particularly hard hit. Drops of 33 percent were attributed to aggressive discounts through online retailers.

At the recent DisplaySearch FPD (Flatpanel Display) Conference in San Diego, Dave Workman, executive director of the marketing and merchandising firm Pro Group, told dealers that the pricing fallout was the fault of both retailers and manufacturers who acted in 2006 like it was the last year of flatpanel sales. Workman said the industry robbed itself of two years of sales growth.

Still, flatpanels have the edge over the peaking rear-projection market. According to Pacific Media, the rear-projection TV segment saw an incremental sales increase for January, as the overall category inched up 1.5 percent in unit sales. Discounted tags paid the price with the 50in. to 54in. segment showing price drops of 40 percent, largely due to closeouts. Average selling price for a 50in. to 54in. rear-projection TV, not including CRTs, was $1,408, compared with $1,701 in December. Average selling price of 40in. to 44in. rear-projection TVs improved slightly to $1,034 from $1,026 in December.

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