06.20.2011 08:00 AM
LED backlights, Internet-connectivity, 3-D not motivating consumers to buy new sets as desired, says DisplaySearch

Enticing consumers to buy new TVs has led manufacturers to offer new features like LED backlights, Internet connectivity and 3-D support, but buyers remain most motivated to make a purchase for traditional reasons like having a newer, bigger, better performing TV.

A new report from DisplaySearch, “Global TV Replacement Study,” finds the main reasons why consumers buy a new TV are the same as in years past. While set manufacturers wishing to give shoppers a nudge to shorten TV replacement cycles dangle these new features before their eyes, consumers by and large don’t see them as strong drivers to make a purchase.

According to DisplaySearch, LED backlights make thinner sets possible and reduce energy consumption for LCD TVs, but they cost more. Internet connectivity is the gateway to over-the-top content, and 3-D promised a new viewing revolution. But each adds cost and at least for now isn’t leading consumers to buy new sets earlier. More work will be necessary to educate and convince shoppers to buy based on the merits of these new features, the study finds.

Of the three new features, an LED backlight appears to be the most important to consumers. However, it ranks above average in importance in only two countries, Russia and urban China, the study says.

DisplaySearch identifies a couple of possible reasons for the lackluster consumer response. Consumers may be unaware or not fully understand the value of LED backlight sets, including a thinner, lighter form factor and lower power consumption. Similarly, they just might not be willing to pay 20 percent more simply to take advantage of these benefits.

Internet connectivity fared even worse as a motivator for set purchases, DisplaySearch finds. As a driver of new purchases, it ranked below average in every case.

The report also finds that despite the hopes of set makers and retailers, 3-D capability is one of the weakest drivers of TV set replacement. While 3-D set shipments recorded strong growth last year, the DisplaySearch study reveals shoppers aren’t looking to upgrade their TVs just to get 3-D. However, among shoppers who are looking to buy a new set, it is a more important criterion.

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