Big Screen TV Prices to Plunge for Holiday Shoppers
Retailers are promising huge, never-before-seen sales this holiday season — and televisions both big and small will be no exception to the discount game.
According to data collected by the Consumer Electronics Association, big-screen TVs rank No. 7 on holiday shoppers' wish lists this year. Although flat screens came in at No. 3 last year, more than half of American households now have at least one flat-panel TV. So this year's TV seekers have size in mind — the bigger, the better.
To avoid a surplus of inventory of old and cheaper TV sets, retailers and manufacturers are already slashing the prices . This will also pave the way for the bigger price cuts expected to hit around Black Friday.
Industry analysts are predicting 32-inch value-brand televisions will sell for $199 and name brands will retail at $249 to $299. Meanwhile, higher-end and bigger models such as a 42-inch set are expected to drop to $500. 55-inch sets with LED backlighting are expected to drop below $1,000 — half the price they were last year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.
Overall, the flat-panel category is projected to sell 10.74 million units in the fourth quarter this year, according to the CEA.
However, Steve Koenig, CEA director of industry analysis, warns that consumers should be well aware that they may not be getting what they are looking for by pouncing on steep TV deals.
"TV sales across the board will be better than last year, but many of the featured models will be very basic," Koenig told TechNewsDaily. "Once a shopper is lured into a store by a promotion, they will realize that the resolution and quality isn’t what they want. Retailers will then try to upsell or encourage them to buy more expensive models — and that's why salespeople play an extra critical role during the holidays."
The availability of big, cheap TVs will also be limited this year, he added, and deal restrictions will be set, such as one-TV-per-customer or one-day only sales.
The three key TV features that retailers will try to push this year are 3-D, Internet-enabled sets and LED backlighting configuration, Koenig added.
Retailers will also try to move customers up to combination TV packages that include built-in Blue-Ray players or bundling, by offering multiple TVs at a lower price or by throwing in a free Blue-Ray player and DVDs.
And although the bottom-line prices will make headlines, merchants don’t actually make money off the deals.
"Sure, the awe and shock of these low prices drives traffic to the stores, but the margins are razor-thin and much better at the higher-end where it really matters," Koenig said.
"And since they are bargain-basement prices, people will get what they pay for. So instead, retailers will give it their all to make shoppers go for something bigger and better indeed."