U.S. consumers put brakes on future TV purchases, says report

The number of Americans planning to buy new TV sets has fallen to record low levels, according to a new IHS iSuppli report.

According to the “U.S. TV Consumer Preference Analysis” report, only 13 percent of U.S. consumers who had not purchased a TV during the past quarter are planning to buy a new set during the next three to 12 months, down sharply from 32 percent in the first quarter.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said they had no intention of buying a new TV set within the next 12 months. This compares to the 66 percent of respondents who said the same thing during the first quarter, marking the highest negative level of response to the question since IHS iSuppli first posed it to the public in 2010.

The remaining 4 percent in the study represented those who had received televisions as a gift, up from 2 percent in the first quarter.

Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS iSuppli, pointed to consumer concern over the shaky U.S. economy as an important factor.

“The findings suggest a growing willingness among U.S. consumers to suspend — if not totally abandon — their ongoing love affair with the television, the primary entertainment device for many American households,” Patel said. “A sort of wait-and-see attitude has taken hold — whether it is waiting for the economy to improve, or for television prices to fall some more, or for the arrival of better deals that combine both reduced prices and high-end TV features.”

The report reveals that U.S. consumers who recently bought a TV cited picture quality, price and screen size as the most important criteria. Brand name has become a less important factor. Nor did consumers deem emerging advanced TV features, such as Internet connectivity and light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting, as important factors, the survey found.

Still, LED-backlit TVs accounted for nearly 30 percent of TV purchases in the second quarter, up from 26 percent in the first.

The report is based on an IHS iSuppli survey conducted among more than 45,000 randomly polled U.S. households from a continually refreshed pool of 2 million, with a margin of error at 1.6 percent.