HDTV sales overtake SD models

The year 2008 will be remembered as the time when global HDTV sales finally overtook SD models. iSuppli, which announced the finding last week, also predicted that HDTV technology will not slow in sales during the next five years.

iSuppli predicts that HDTV unit shipments will grow to 241.2 million by 2012, managing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.0 percent, up from 97.1 million units in 2007. Non-HDTV unit shipments will decline to 23.1 million units by 2012, decreasing at a CAGR of 27.0 percent, down from 114.8 million units in 2007.

This, said iSuppli, is the switch in technology that the market has been waiting for. In the next few weeks, the “New York Times” reported, LCD and plasma TV set prices are due to fall. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has traditionally been the one-day-only super sale for consumer electronics, but this year, prices should tumble even sooner and perhaps stay there, the newspaper said.

Television manufacturers have already lowered their prices, cutting into margins. According to a DisplaySearch conference call held recently for its clients, in August the firm projected fourth quarter 2008 sales would climb 1.4 percent from the same period last year, while revenues were to decline 16.3 percent. Now, the firm thinks unit sales could decline as well.

Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch’s director of North American TV market research, predicts the following prices in the coming weeks:

  • 19in high-definition LCD: $199
  • 32in HD LCD: $399-$499
  • 40in 1080p LCD: $799-$999
  • 42in HD plasma: $599-$699
  • 50in HD plasma: $899-$999

The consumer electronics industry has already slowed drastically, the “Times” reported. On a weekly basis, year-over-year sales increased just 3 percent for the week that ended Oct. 18, compared with an 18 percent gain for the week that ended Sept. 20.

Many retailers are cutting costs because they expect a lighter selling season. Best Buy announced that it would hire 16,000 to 20,000 seasonal employees, a significant drop from last year’s 26,000 seasonal hires.