12.27.2004 08:00 AM
Holiday sales of flat-panel TVs solid, not booming

The overall holiday shopping season may be soft, but consumers are still responding to the lure of flat-panel television sets.

About 40 percent to 45 percent of all televisions are sold in the fourth quarter, according to research company DisplaySearch, so the holiday season is especially important to this emerging business. Many manufacturers and retailers are counting on the new technologies to remake the television business, which for 50 years has used cathode-ray tubes as the basis for sets.

Through a combination of sleek cases, large display sizes and marketing blitzes, retailers and manufacturers are hoping to create a new era for televisions, said CNET. However, high prices have been a significant deterrent. Average selling prices of flat-panel sets are around $1500 to $1800. Traditional CRT sets are in the sub-$500 range.

The new sets are still a small factor in the overall television market. Accounting for about 70 percent of television shipments, CRT sets still make up the lion’s share of the industry. However, growth rates in shipments of flat-panel sets are more than doubling each month in the fourth quarter compared with last year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

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