HDTV Set Sales Fall With Rising Prices

SUNNYVALE, CALIF.: HDTV set sales are falling off as prices rise, according to Retrevo, a Web-based operation that tracks consumer electronics trends. The Retrevo folks say that HDTV set prices have increased as much as 30 percent since mid-January, and during the same period, demand has decreased “while other electronics product categories remained flat or increased slightly.”

“It is typically not a good strategy to increase prices at a time when consumers are hunkering down and trying to save money,” said Vipin Jain, CEO of Retrevo. “Reduced advertising on the part of brands and retailers, as well as some seasonality, has likely also contributed to weak demand. The good news for consumers is that our April data revealed that HDTV prices have leveled off and might even be heading back down.”

Retrevo’s “Pulse” Web site runs a sort of ticker displaying what consumer electronics products are most active in the retail market and how prices are trending. TV sets were on the ticker Thursday morning but were later edged out by printers, digital cameras, camcorders, laptops and monitors, and occasionally, microwave ovens. The average price for a camcorder was listed at $1,797.13. The most active brand was HP, followed by Sony, LG, Epson and Nortel and/or Samsung.

Retrevo’s ticker watchers said the drop in HDTV sales was “disproportionate” to other gear such as digital cameras, camcorders and DVD/Blu-ray players. -- Deborah D. McAdams