DisplaySearch: TV Replacement Cycle Shortens

According to a press release from DisplaySearch, the company’s new study reports that consumers worldwide continue to replace their televisions more frequently than in the past. Traditionally, consumers replaced a CRT TV with another CRT TV every 10 to 15 years. That cycle is much shorter now, and not just in the U.S. but worldwide.

Clearly, the advent of high definition programming and the ever-decreasing prices for flat panel sets has played a major role in this trend. DisplaySearch cites some interesting results from their research, however. An outdated or broken TV was a factor in the decision to get a new set, but it was not one of the top factors, according to the study. Even more interesting is the finding that advanced features such as streaming content from the Internet or stereoscopic 3D support have not been a major factor either.

One of the big drivers for new purchases was price. The 20% annual price drops that we’ve seen in recent years keeps bringing the new sets within reach of more buyers.

DisplaySearch does not share the report’s forecasts for future replacement rates, but some markets including the U.S. must be approaching saturation. If the industry can’t keep lowering prices, I expect that U.S. TV sales will have to level off sooner or later. Fortunately, it looks as though the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) are poised for increased consumer demand for flat screen televisions, so the industry will probably enjoy unit sales growth for quite a while.