If you’re looking for a new television this year, you might have noticed that the selection of models, particularly those with 4K Ultra HD resolution, has significantly expanded at your local consumer electronics retail store.

According to a study by market research firm gap intelligence, the number of TV placements at retail has increased by 13 percent over the past year on a same-store basis, including 4K Ultra HD models.

Deirdre Kennedy, television market analyst with gap, told HD Guru the number of placements of Ultra HDTVs are up 28 percent since September 2016, while the number of available Full HD 1080p TV models has declined 24 percent over the same period. That translates to a 63 percent share of the retail shelf for Ultra HDTVs (an increase of 14 percent year-over-year from 55 percent in 2016).

That’s also “a modest 24 percent share for Full HD 1080p TV models, down 33 percent from 36 percent a year ago, Kennedy said.

What this means for you is a greater selection of 4K Ultra HD products and heavier inventory in warehouses, which often lead to TV bargains going into the critical fourth-quarter holiday shopping season.

Read more on gap intelligence’s U.S. TV retail situation after the jump:

As for smaller-screen TV models, gap found that smaller 720p HD models “held steady year-over-year with a 13 percent share of all retail placements.”

Despite all of the noise about four-times greater resolution of 4K Ultra HD TVs compared to Full HD 1080p, gap said “the 720p HD market has not experienced a significant impact in retail presence since the arrival of Ultra HD, largely because UHD TVs are not a direct replacement for the small-screen, low-resolution models.”

In fact, studies have found that for normal household seating locations, the benefits of resolution alone are not clearly visible until screen sizes surpass 65 inches, although that resolution will be viewable on smaller screens when seated close to the display, for things like PC monitor applications or 4K video game playing. Also, the benefits of high dynamic range (HDR), which is now supported (at varying degrees of quality) on many 4K Ultra HDTVs, is clearly visible from much farther distances on screens of 50-inches and lower.

4K UHD and HDTVs

Amazon’s Camera, Photo & Video Deals

Amazon Fire TV 4K Ultra HD Set-Top Media Adapter with Alexa

Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Amazon Echo Plus Voice Controlled Wireless Speaker and Home System Interface

Amazon Echo Dot Voice Controlled Home System Interface

Amazon Echo Spot with Alexa and Screen

4K Ultra HDTV Specials From Abt

Panasonic  Deals

Best Selling Soundbars and 5.1 Surround Systems

Best Selling Blu-ray Players

As for the most active TV retailers this year, gap said Walmart

made the biggest year-over-year gains in UHD selection, growing its share of the shelf devoted to 4K models by 50 percent from a 27 percent share in September 2016 to a 41 percent share of all TV products in 2017.

Similarly, Target expanded its UHD allotment by 46 percent to the point that 47 percent of its TV selection now comprises high-resolution models.

Kenney said that despite the gains among top mass merchant sellers, “it should be noted that all other retailers in the [gap retailer] panel already devote more than 50 percent of their respective TV assortments to 4K TVs.”

Promotional Trends

Of course, more television availability means more competition, and competition leads to promotions.

But over the past several years of UHD proliferation, the number of in-store promotions given to Full HD 1080p models has seen a rapid decrease, as prices for the segment have compressed profit margins to a minimum.

Kennedy said seasonal changes cause the number of in-store promotions to rise and fall, but 2017 failed to bring a post-holiday recovery for Full HD 1080p TVs, whose in-store promotional counts never recovered from that seasonal dip.

Ultra HDTVs, on the other hand, accounted for 70 percent of all in-store promotions in the month of September, while Full HD 1080p models dropped 47 percent of the previous year’s promotion count to make up only 19 percent of all in-store promotions last month.

“As Ultra HDTVs become both more prevalent and more affordable, manufacturers and retailers alike are channeling promotional efforts toward the larger-ticket items,” Kennedy said. “TV brands put forth a lot of effort to evolve new technologies for their high-end products and require ads and in-store promotions in order to compete against comparable models from other companies.”

Kennedy pointed out that good deals can still be had within the Full HD 1080p segment, but the attention is necessarily focused on the UHD segment.

Advertising Trends

Among consumer electronics retailer advertising, gap reported a 21 percent year-over-year drop in overall weekly retail circular advertisements during the third quarter.

“Most ad placements are found at Best Buy (48 percent) and Fry’s Electronics (38 percent), while Magnolia, Target, Walmart, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Costco, and Sam’s Club make up only 14 percent of ads,” said Kennedy.

“The content of the ads does not change much quarter-over-quarter,” she continued. “Samsung, LG, and Sony continue to be the heaviest advertisers, but Vizio’s placement count dropped by 45 percent year-over-year.”

In fact, Kennedy said Vizio, which was in the process of being acquired by LeEco before the deal fell apart earlier in the year, registered a significant drop and has not regained its former Amazon placements.

This spring, the company revamped its operating system and added the Amazon Instant Video app to its smart TV platform, but thus far in October,”gap intelligence has captured only 3 Vizio placements at the retailer (up from 2 a year ago),” Kennedy said.


By Greg Tarr


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