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U.S. retailers reduce availability of plasma TVs to lowest level since Q1 2011

Rising prices contributed to a fall-off in the share for plasma of all available U.S. televisions last month to the lowest level since the first quarter of 2011, according to new data from IHS iSuppli.

The market data, part of IHS iSuppli U.S. TV Price & Specifications Market Tracker,” show that the share for plasma of all types of TVs at U.S. retailers fell to 13.3 percent in July, a decline from 14.9 percent in June and 15 percent in July 2011. The last time plasma’s share slipped lower than July’s level was Q1 2011 when it fell to 11.6 percent.

“Despite a brief resurgence in popularity during the second half of last year, the U.S. plasma business is undoubtedly a market on the decline,” said Edward Border, analyst for TV technology at IHS.

“While this deterioration is part of a long-term global trend, the drop in plasma sales in the U.S. in 2012 is also due to consistently elevated pricing. The decrease in sales has reduced plasma’s market share, allowing LCD TVs — plasma’s traditional rivals — to further their dominance in the overall U.S. TV space.”

In July, the average price for plasma TVs hit $1621, the result of a focus by set makers on larger screen sizes and higher-value sets. That price remains below the $1649 average price in May or the $1638 mark reached in April, but 1.4 percent higher than the June figure of $1598. It is also greater than prices for plasmas from January to March.

The market analytics company forecasts a decline in prices during the yearend holiday shopping season; however, the drop will be less than the December 2011 decline that sent the average retail price of a plasma TV to $1494, the lowest point on record. This year, IHS iSuppli is forecasting prices to begin dropping around September.