Despite Economy, HD Shipments Grow

(From HD Notebook)

Despite a hair-raising third quarter that was quickly followed by some nasty business on Wall Street in October, shipments of HD-centric products to North American retailers still managed to grow—albeit a meager 6 percent from quarter-to-quarter. Still, according to industry analyst DisplaySearch, on a year-to-year basis the growth in TV shipments was more robust at 12 percent.

After nearly being given up for dead a year ago, plasma nearly held its own when it came to growing shipments to retailers. The growth in LCD shipments rose 21 percent over last year while plasma growth was up 20 percent (although far more LCD product was shipped because it holds a bigger chunk of the market).

Meanwhile, rear-projection shipments suffered a stiff decline of more than 50 percent from a year ago. While shipments do not necessarily reflect actual sales, they typically correspond with consumer demand as projected or realized by retailers.

As for those good old picture-tube (CRT) HD/SD sets that probably would have vanished from store shelves in North America by now if it were not for the economy, they continue their slide into technology oblivion—although more slowly than analysts had predicted. The key reason: CRT, where still available, offers a noticeable cost savings over LCD and plasma for suddenly money-conscious shoppers.

What all this fresh third-quarter data (whose compilation ended before a down October in all consumer categories) portends for the upcoming holiday sales season in North America and elsewhere is unknown, but it will be found out soon enough. Black Friday, Nov. 28, is barely two weeks away—although some anticipated bargains in the HD/Blu-ray realm likely will be announced starting next week.