John Paczkowski

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Flat-Panel TV Sales Flatten in U.S.

After years of consecutive growth, flat-panel TV sales in the U.S. are beginning to stall out.

Market research firm IHS iSuppli said Tuesday that U.S.-bound shipments of flat-panel TVs will drop 5 percent in 2012, slipping to 37.1 million units from 39.1 million units in 2011. And that decline will likely continue for the next few years. By 2013, IHS figures shipments will drop to just below 35 million; by 2015, they’ll be hovering around 34.2 million.

That’s a precipitous drop for a market that has never seen a year-over-year decline, even during the lean years of 2008 and 2009. So what’s behind it? IHS believes two factors are at work here. First, the maturation of the U.S. television market. Second, the industry overestimated demand in early 2011 and flooded the channel with inventory it was forced to discount later in the year.

“The main factor behind the expected slowdown in the U.S. TV flat-panel market during 2012 can be attributed to the TV market reaching a state of maturity for this particular region,” IHS analyst Lisa Hatamiya told AllThingsD. “Flat-panel TVs experienced major uptake since their release because they offered a much slimmer form factor compared to CRT tube TVs and were also easier to place into secondary TV-viewing areas of the household. While 2011’s incredibly low price declines were aimed to boost flat-panel TV sales last year, consumers reacted very positively to this, and the flat-panel TV market reached nearly 39 million units.”

But the industry cannot afford to offer those same low prices this year, said Hatamiya. “So we expect that U.S. TV prices will not experience huge price declines this year, and as a result, shipments will fall 5 percent year over year.”

(Image courtesy of Andidas.com)


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