That happy smiley face will be shining down over a lot more HDTVs, as Wal-Mart aggressively expands its offerings. According to a company press release yesterday, the chain will start carrying Vizio’s 26″, 32″, 37″, and 42″ flat panel television models . You can also expect to find 1080p sets 40″ or larger from Philips and Polaroid. The stores will also carry more Samsung models.
The heart of this announcement can be found in once sentence from the release: “Value will continue to be a key driver, with prices on 32″ LCD televisions for example moving to lower than $500.” In our Weekly Price Intelligence Report database, there have been a few 32″ models advertised for $500, but these were the exception. Advertised prices for many models were above $1,000 and many were $1,400 or higher. Wal-Mart’s intention to establish the price at one-half or less than these prices signals in important development that could accelerate downward prices across the board. This will make an already difficult situation for stores such as Circuit City, Tweeter, and CompUSA that much harder.
I’ve said all along that the new consumers coming into the HDTV market will be more price sensitive than the existing early adopters who were able to spend more for their large flat screen TVs. Wal-Mart’s timing seems to be perfect to reach out to these new buyers with smaller budgets. If the products are good and the prices are right, Wal-Mart could grab a large share of the growth in the HDTV market.
To find out what the national chains are advertising this week, check out Professor Pooors Weekly Price Intelligence Report, published every Tuesday.