U.S. consumer interest in TVs with larger screens grows

More than 20 percent of all TVs purchased by U.S. consumers in the first quarter of 2011 had displays that were 50in or larger, an all-time-high level, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

In all, 22.7 percent of American TV buyers purchased the large-screen TVs during the three months from January to March 2011, compared to 19.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Only once before did the sale of 50in or larger sets exceed the 20 percent mark — in the first quarter of 2010 when sales reached 20.2 percent.

“The rising popularity of 50in-and-larger sets among U.S. consumers stems from pure market economics,” said Riddhi Patel, director for TV systems and retail services at IHS. “Televisions have become less expensive for the consumer, allowing even bigger sets previously considered beyond the reach of most consumers to become accessible.”

TV brands also have been promoting 50in-and-larger TVs in the market because the sets offered bigger margins and profits, according to IHS iSuppli.

Average pricing for 50in and larger flat-panel LCD and plasma TVs in the United States amounted to $1582 in the first quarter of 2011, down 8 percent from $1723 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

While sales of 50in and bigger sets are on the rise, smaller sets remain the most popular option for most consumers. The most popular size of TV sets among U.S. consumers ranged 40in to 49in, which garnered 39.5 percent of sales in Q1 2011, according to IHS iSuppli. TVs with displays ranging in size from 30in to 39in accounted for 25.5 percent of first quarter sales. For the remaining two size categories, the smaller-than-20in range as well as the 20in-29in range, total numbers decreased.