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Ultra HD: Are Consumers Ready?

Are consumers are ready to commit to next-generation UHD displays?

February 19, 2014 By Rhonda Daniel, senior manager, market research, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
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CEA recently published two consumer research studies on Ultra HDTVs that underscore its tremendous market potential. Consumer Perspective on Ultra HDTV examines consumer awareness, attitudes and purchase intent while Consumer Perceptions of Ultra HDTV at Retail reveals how the in-person experience influences Ultra HD perceptions and how retail can foster this experience.

Most online U.S. adults have heard about Ultra HDTVs, though their familiarity is shallow – meaning opportunities exist for consumer engagement. The more familiar consumers are with Ultra HDTVs, the more likely they are to express an interest in owning the technology.

What better way to learn a new technology than in person? Here is an opportunity for retailers to pique consumer interest through device displays and knowledgeable sales associates on the front lines. Most consumers are likely to notice Ultra HDTVs for the first time at a retail location. One in 10 U.S. adults has seen an Ultra HDTV in person at a retail store in the past year. Those who experience the technology in person are more likely to view it positively and express interest in owning it than those who haven’t. CEA’s Consumer Perceptions of Ultra HDTV at Retail finds the in-person experience is critical to convey the benefits of Ultra HD technology to consumers and win over skeptics. 

The two most common barriers to consumer adoption revolve around price and the availability of content.  However, consumers are conditioned by their experiences with falling prices over time for HDTVs and other electronics products, leading them to believe Ultra HDTVs will follow suit as well. Consumers are similarly concerned by the lack of Ultra HD content available for Ultra HDTVs, especially from cable and broadcast networks and movie providers. Two in five online U.S. adults (43 percent) cite concerns with the availability of Ultra HD television programming and one in five has concerns over the availability of Ultra HD movies for purchase (24 percent) or for rent (21 percent) and over the availability of Ultra HD video content through streaming service providers (22 percent). 

Mass adoption is unlikely to happen until more content is available in Ultra HD and prices drop, leaving purchasing mainly in the hands of early adopters for now. How can retailers facilitate purchasing among early adopters and increase familiarity and interest among the broader population?

• Focus on product placement. Displaying Ultra HDTVs side-by-side with HDTVs allows for easy comparisons between the two types of technology and often impresses consumers with Ultra HD’s superiority. However, it also is important to keep the Ultra HD displays together instead of scattered throughout a store. Additionally, retailers may consider placing Ultra HD displays in heavy traffic areas to spark broader familiarity and interest in the technology.

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