Looking Past Displays
With all the buzz around flat panel displays coming from the media and fueled by my fellow industry analysts, you would think that consumers are interested in nothing else these days. Well perhaps there is some interest in MP3 players, but that’s about it. Some of the hype is certainly well founded, given the record setting year the display market is having as customers flock to retail in search of an upgrade to their old tube-based sets. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) expects shipment revenues for displays to reach over $20 billion this year, marking this the largest year in the history of TV sales, even when you adjust for inflation. All of this has come at the expense of categories such as audio, which has seen the rate of attachment to big screen display sales plummet over the past several years. But there is much more to this story.
The latest research from CEA, which covers the home theater market opportunity, reveals a beacon of hope for a retail future for home entertainment products that extends well past the display. In fact, it suggests we may be sitting right in the middle of this opportunity now and just may be bringing our collective energies, from manufacturers to retailers, to bear in harnessing it.
First and foremost, the vast majority of consumers (83 percent) surveyed in the home theater study are telling us loud and clear, video and audio quality are equally important to the overall home theater experience. The survey also shows us that satisfaction with audio quality and video quality have at least a moderate relationship to overall satisfaction with the home theater. And yet, right now there are more consumers who say audio quality is important than are satisfied with the quality of their existing home theater system. This should be the sounds of opportunity knocking, since this gap signifies a pain point for the customer—the audio portion of the system is not living up to their standards.