Super Bowl Resulted in 2.6 Million HDTV Sales

Many retailers have said over the past several years that no single television event seems to have propelled the sale of HD sets as much as the Super Bowl, even when hampered by a struggling economy. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, this week’s Super Bowl XLIII was expected to drive the purchase of an estimated 2.6 million HDTV units, making the sporting event what the CEA said is the “top driver” for HD buys for the fourth consecutive year.

That would mean the Feb. 1 game, the third most-watched TV event ever aired in the U.S., behind last year’s Super Bowl and the final episode of M*A*S*H* a quarter-century ago, according to Nielsen--with an averaged-out American audience of nearly 95 million-—outperformed even the two-week long coverage of the Olympics last summer in Beijing in the go-out-and-buy-an-HD column.

Overall, says the CEA, 2009 is expected to be another record-breaking year for HDTV sales with just under 30 million HD units expected to ship-—and about 34.5 million DTV sets expected to sell in this calendar year-—compared to 26.8 million sold in 2008. Most shipped units will be LCD, with plasma making up about 10 percent of the lot, CEA concludes.

“The Super Bowl’s become the time period we see increased sales because people are wanting to pull the trigger at that specific time because the Super Bowl gives them an incentive to do so,” electronics store owner Randy Traviss told WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa before the game.

Besides the Super Bowl itself, CEA said the noticeable drop in the average wholesale price of HD sets also contributed to its sales estimates. The shaky economy, it said, is not greatly affecting HD-centric sales to date.