HD TV sales surpass 10 million in UK

Thursday, September 11th, 2008 

United Kingdom, Consumer Electronics

In May, cumulative sales of HDTVs to date surpassed 10 million (with a total that was much nearer 11 million by the end of June). Not bad at all for a product which only really started selling in significant quantities in 2004. In the first six months of 2008 alone, more than 2 million were added and GfK Retail and Technology expects the cumulative total to be approaching 15 million by the end of 2008.

Assuming that there will be some homes with more than one HDTV, the number of homes not yet owning one 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!

This enthusiasm should be tempered by the sobering thought that an overwhelming majority of HDTVs are not yet relaying genuine High Definition broadcasts 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. 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% of Flat TV market volume (and 33% of the turnover)!

A key feature of the world of HD has been the intense pressure on prices. A comparison between the 52 weeks ending June 2007 and June 2008 confirms that HD was transformed from an awkward £721 down to a much more appealing £502. The 32″+ large screen decline was an equally steep £859 to £646, despite the move to larger screen sizes.

Narrow the parameters to 1080p only and things become more dramatic as the price in the same reporting periods plummets from £1660 to £954! However, the most interesting statistic to emerge from this analysis was the share that HD enjoyed in the small/ medium segment (up to 26″). Here the volume share increased from 37% to 63%.

Beyond the retail sales monitor, a consideration of consumer trends reveals some valuable insight. As the Internet accounted for 29% of HDTV sales in the first half of 2008, compared to 17% purchasing all TVs, it seemed sensible to look at consumers who chose the Internet to purchase a HDTV, whereupon GfK Retail and Technology discovered that 43% of them reported they were looking for the ‘best deal’ in order to make the purchase- perhaps demonstrating the power the Internet has as a perceived comparatively cheap source of purchase.

In the 12 months to March 2006, 9% of HDTV sales were for use in a household bedroom, compared to a dominating 85% of sales intended for use in the living room. Two years on in 2008- HDTV sales for use in a bedroom had risen by 10% points to 19%, whilst HDTV’s bought for the living room had diminished to 73%. This illustrates the penetration of the HD feature across the whole Television market, including smaller sets being used in additional household rooms, such as bedrooms, possibly in conjunction with Video Game Consoles.