North American TV shipments remain strong, but clouds form on horizon

Despite a slowing U.S. economy, TV shipments in North America exceeded targets by 7 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to the proceedings of DisplaySearch’s Second Annual TV Supply Chain Conference held earlier in June.

Year-over-year shipments of flat-panel televisions in North America grew 53 percent, said Vizio VP Jeff Schindler, quoting DisplaySearch data. However, unit growth wasn’t equal across screen sizes.

According to DisplaySearch director of North American TV research Paul Gagnon, smaller televisions are doing better than larger sizes, which he attributed to weakened consumer spending. Global shipments of 32in televisions outpaced the research organization’s forecasts by 10 percent, while those with screens larger than 40in missed hitting expectations by 3 percent, he said.

Looking ahead to the holiday shopping season, Steven Platt, director and research fellow of the Platt Retail Institute, predicted a challenging environment for TV sales. In Platt’s view, the economy is already in recession and any boost from the tax rebate stimulus will be attenuated by consumers paying down existing debt and energy expenses.

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