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DuBravac: Midyear CEA Stats Show TV Unit Sales Dip for 2011

June 22, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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TV sales this year will mirror the slow nationwide economic recovery – but the projection for the drop in sales for 2011 is less than the 5.4 percent sales dip experienced in 2010.

At the “Mid-Year Reality Check,” the kickoff session of the New York City-held CEA LineShows Wednesday, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, said that the organization had pegged the TV sales decline by the end of 2011 to reach about 3-1/2 percent.

LCD TV sales account for 28 percent of shipments year to date, as was the case last year, and plasma sets tracked at 22 percent in 2010, but they are tracking at closer to a 28 percent rate this year. If that rate holds, he said, plasma sales could reach 5.5 million units by the end of the year.

3D TVs, he said, are up 187 percent year to date versus sales for the same 2010 period. Despite roundly expressed disappointment within the industry about the technology’s inaugural market months last year, said DuBravac, 3D in general “is following the path of all nascent technologies.” Earlier projections for 2011 unit sales, therefore, have been amended upward, and CEA estimates that if the current sales rate holds, 3D TV sales by the end of the year could reach 3.6 million units and account for 35 to 45 percent of total TV shipments for the year. Of the 1.9 million units that have sold through for the half of 2011, he added, 40 percent shipped in the January-through-April timeframe.

TV with Internet connectivity, said DuBravac, which accounted for nine percent of all flat-panel sales last year, have already accounted for 20 percent of TVs sold in 2011’s first half, and the tally could reach 6.3 million units by year’s end.  That category, he added, “is growing above expectations” even as the entire TV market’s sales decline.  He said sales declines were occurring mostly in sales of smaller LCD screen sizes.

TV pricing, according to the data, is dropping at a three percent rate for LCD screens and at a nine percent rate for plasma screens, and retail pricing, year to date, is off 15 percent over the same period in 2010. “That has helped the industry maintain sales volume,” he observed.

DuBravac also offered data on the booming tablet computer market. Just under 17 million shipped in 2010 and it’s anticipated that that figure will be 42 million for the 2011 calendar year – exceeding CEA’s rather conservative projection of 35 million offered earlier.   In Q4 of 2010, five percent of the volume shipped, but CEA projects that almost 20 million units will ship in Q4 of 2011.   In 2010 in the U.S., total tablet and smartphone sales eclipsed total PC sales; for 2011, said DuBravac, that will be the case worldwide.

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