Couch potatoes have gone flat out this season. For the first time, more flat colour television (CTVs) are moving off dealer racks into the drawing rooms of buyers who don't mind coughing up extra cash to add more colour to prime-time viewing.
Watch the figures play out the trend. Fifty per cent of the 1.8m television sets sold between January and March this year were flat frames even as sales of conventional sets faded 21%. The flat TV bright spot is expected to linger and it is highly probable that their share in aggregate sales surges to 60% by the year-end.
Industry estimates show that of the 8.3m TV sets sold in '05, the flat variety accounted for 3.6 m. “The movement up the value chain will continue with easy availability of finance and competitive pricing,” says Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India Electronics.
In fact, market watchers point out that the average price of a flat TV has fallen to Rs 14,300 in '05 from Rs 19,750 in 2002. In a few instances, the difference between a flat and a conventional television set is only about Rs 1,000.
Consumer needs and aspirations change. For example, the preference for better-quality picture and sound has led to flat TVs replacing the non-flats quicker than expected. The increased demand has ensured economies of scale, which, in turn, has helped rationalise the pricing, industry officials said.
All the developed markets in the US and Europe have shifted to flat panels from conventional TVs. Growth in spending of urban consumers and change in lifestyle patterns will boost the sales of flat panels,” a Sony India official added.
Semi-urban and rural areas are driving a bulk of sales for the industry even for the high-end models with higher income levels and price reductions fuelling purchases.
While data on the contribution of these areas is not available, the importance can be gauged from the fact that more than 60% of CTV sales come from semi-urban/rural areas, sources said.