I’m at the Society for Information Display 20o9 conference in San Antonio all this week, and even though the exhibit hall doesn’t open until this morning, I’ve already been drinking from the firehose of display technology information. Yesterday was a full-day conference hosted by the market research firm DisplaySearch, focused on the business of displays. In a session on the TV market, DisplaySearch Director of North American TV Research Paul Gagnon discussed how flat panel technology has taken over from CRT (picture tube) models. Note that plasma remains a distant third; 2009 projections call for 60% LCD unit sales, 33% CRT, and just 7% plasma.
What I found even more interesting is the fact that in the first quarter of 2009, the average screen size for all sets sold worldwide was only about 30″ for 2008. And for the first quarter of 2009, 91% of all the TVs sold worldwide cost less than $1,000. Sets priced below $300 had the largest share at nearly 40%, but the $300 to $500 range became the second most popular choice with about 30%. For all of 2008, the $500 to $750 segment had been the second choice, but fell to third place with about a 15% share.
What this says to me is that the strong sales of TVs at the start of this year came about because people were buying smaller, less expensive models. The prospects of sales for sets 50″ and larger appear to be slim and getting slimmer. And to echo points made by other analysts, the DisplaySearch numbers show that the market for any TV priced above $2,5000 is negligeable.
Now, as the economy eases, maybe consumers will want to shift back to spending a bit more on their new televisions, but now that we have about a 98% flat panel penetration in North America, it seems more likely that people will continue to buy smaller sets as new secondary (or tertiary) TVs for the home. So expect the smaller, lower priced models to continue to gain the lion’s share of the TV sales.