HES: More Flat-Panel Price Shifts in Offing
Flat panel has become a “top of mind” TV product among consumers, but at the top of C-tailers’ minds will be more pricing fluctuations in the category, said Jim Ristow, general manager of the Home Entertainment Source division of the Brand Source buying group, which held its largest-ever National Convention and Buying Fair in Las Vegas last week.
Ristow said that several factors will affect the market in the coming months. Among them: the entry of Best Buy’s private-label Insignia brand; the debut of off-brand 42-inch high-definition plasma TVs at prices ranging anywhere from $1,499 to $1,799; and the opening of Sharp’s eighth-generation LCD factory this fall in Kameyama, Japan. Ristow said increased LCD manufacturing capabilities could cause LCD sales to “bite into” plasma and rear-projection sales.
Ristow cited research indicating that “the numbers and sizes of TVs in the home are increasing, and consumers say they plan to spend a little over $1,000 on that flat TV.” He added that statistics indicate Samsung, Sony and Panasonic currently account for 56 percent of the flat panel market today, and “whether you carry them or not, you need to know that consumers are shopping these brands.”
According to a Consumer Electronics association poll, said Ristow, 63 percent of consumers expect to buy a flat-panel display as their next TV and roughly 30 percent expect to buy a rear-projection set.
He added, “Now is the time to sell, to manage your old inventory, even if you take some price hits and get gone what needs to get gone... It will be all about turns now.”