Analysis: HD Inventories Overstocked in January

Last holiday season’s sales of HD sets failed to fully reach earlier expectations when compared to estimates of required inventories for January (especially for smaller sized panels), according to Pacific Media Associates, a research firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. Also, post-holiday sales in some HD categories were lower than expected.

The PMA study said inventories of consumer flat-panel televisions (mostly HD) at North American distributors rose 68 percent in January over December’s levels. Meanwhile, distributor sales of HD sets fell 37 percent in January, according to PMA’s “Flat Panel Display Distributor Tracking Service” report.

“These results are in sharp contrast with the January 2007 results,” said PMA Vice President Rosemary Abowd. “Last January saw an 18 percent increase in unit sales over December 2006, and inventories declined 7 percent over that period. This year’s results run in the opposite direction.”

She said the inventory logjam was most pronounced in the 30- to 34-inch range, which represents the majority of the most affordable HD models. (PMA did not say whether smaller panel sales were below estimates because larger screens sold better than expected.)

While sales for all sized HD sets in January climbed 55 percent, inventory levels more than tripled.