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Strong HDTV sales predicted for 2012 as flat-panel pricing grows

Posted at 11 February 2012 01:34 CEST by Justin_Massoud

Weak overall TV sales in 2011 could rebound this year, according to IHS iSuppli. The research group said that flat-panel LCD and plasma TV prices saw a 12-month high in January after a favorable holiday season.

The average cost of flat-panel TVs last month grew $51 to $1,170, noted Lisa Hatamiya, IHS research associate. In January 2011, that figure sat at $1,133.

Hatamiya called the numbers “encouraging” for TV makers that faltered in 2011. The analyst cited high manufacturing costs, competition-fueled price jockeying and poor economic conditions as contributing factors to the industry’s poor showing. She called on retailers to reinvent the process of buying a TV for increasingly discerning consumers.

“With pricing in January now higher than it ever was during the past year, retailers should strive to change the TV buying experience and drive increased sales through desired features, instead of merely offering the lowest price on the market,” wrote Hatamiya.

Manufacturers also continue to duke it out for consumer dollars. Samsung this week touted strong 2012 sales and said that it’s gearing up to cater to a growing market for small, cheap low-end TVs.

“We’ve been preparing to introduce cheap models and have been studying to optimize production costs and retail prices,” said Kim Hyun-suk, executive vice president of Samsung’s visual display division.

Hyun-suk said Samsung would deliver cheaper TVs “as long as there’s demand.”

On the other end of the pricing spectrum, Samsung revealed that it hopes to sell 25 million Smart TVs in 2012. Leading the way is the company’s new ES8000 line, which features voice, face and motion recognition software. The fancy 46-to-65-inch monsters are now available in Korea with a worldwide release slated for late March.

Meanwhile, rival Sony posted a huge $2.1 billion net loss for last quarter, thanks in part to a floundering TV business. Newly appointed Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai stated that “painful” cost-cutting methods will be implemented to help reinvigorate the company. (via IHS)

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