HDTV sales surpass 10 million in UK

Sales of HDTVs healthy but viewers face problem of content gap

Cumulative sales of HDTVs to date surpassed 10 million in the UK, according to a report by GfK Retail and Technology.

In the first six months of 2008, more than 2 million were added and the market research firm expects the cumulative total to be approaching 15 million by the end of 2008.

While the UK lags behind other nations such as the US in HDTV pentration, the GfK report said the figures were significant considering it was a product which only really started selling in significant quantities in 2004.

It pointed out that since some homes had more than one HDTV, the number of households not yet owning a high def set “must be well over 10 million”.

“In other words, the spectacular uptake of this product so far may not even equate to half of its potential sales,” the report said.

However, GfK said any enthusiasm should be tempered by the sobering thought that an overwhelming majority of HDTVs are not yet relaying genuine high definition broadcasts.

This is because the digital terrestrial platform cannot yet broadcast in HD.

“Fortunately, there has been a sustained growth in large screen TVs, and HD is now a standard feature on all of these products,” said the report.

“Manufacturers and retailers have also been quick to move their focus to 1080p (so-called Full HD) products.
“By June 2008, this segment accounted for 18 per cent of flat TV market volume and 33 per cent of the turnover.”

Intense pressure on prices is key feature

A comparison between the 52 weeks ending June 2007 and June 2008 confirms that HD was transformed from GBP £721 down to GBP £502.

The 32"+ large screen decline was an equally steep GBP £859 to GBP £646, despite the move to larger screen sizes.

Narrow the parameters to 1080p only and the price in the same reporting periods plummets from GBP£1660 to GBP£954.

Other points arising from the GfK market monitor include:

* In the small/ medium segment (up to 26"), the HD volume share increased from 37 to 63 per cent.

* The Internet accounted for 29 per cent of HDTV sales in the first half of 2008, compared to 17 per cent purchasing all TVs.

* In the 12 months to March 2006, 9 per cent of HDTV sales were for use in a household bedroom, compared to 85 per cent of sales intended for use in the living room. In 2008 – HDTV sales for use in a bedroom had risen to 19 per cent, while HDTV’s bought for the living room had dropped to 73 per cent.

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