Source: gap intelligence.

Black Friday TV shoppers are seeing a push of larger and larger HD and Ultra HDTV screen sizes this year with 55-, 60-, and 65-inch screen models seeing heavier holiday promotions than prior years, according to market research from San Diego-based gap intelligence.

“In 2014, the market saw a 69 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in shipments of TVs sized between 55- and 65-inches during the crucial Q4 holiday selling period,” Deirdre Kennedy, gap intelligence’s television industry analyst, told HD Guru. “We can expect to see a similar trend this year, particularly among UHD models, which continue to be offered most often in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.”

Kennedy pointed out that the average screen size in the U.S. continues to hover around 40-inches, although American tastes are trending toward larger models.

At the same time, UHD TVs continue to find rapid growth within the market and are expected to be heavily promoted during the holiday season, according to gap, whose data shows “shipments of UHD TVs increased by over 50 percent in Q3 compared to the previous quarter, and should maintain momentum through the end of the year.”

More on the TV shopper’s holiday outlook after the jump:

According to gap, UHD TVs are expected to sell well this holiday season as they continue to gain market share. Total 2015 UHD shipment forecasts predict that the units will make up 12 percent of the market, with a large portion of those shipments arriving in Q4. Going forward, UHD shipments are expected to increase to a 23 percent market share in 2016, gap predicted.

However, Ultra HD TVs that are capable of displaying content specially produced with metadata for high dynamic range (HDR), allowing a greater range of light from dark to bright white, is not likely to attract much attention this holiday season. Kennedy said it is just too early for the burgeoning technology.


Source: gap intelligence.

“TVs with HDR capabilities currently represent only about 11 percent of all retail placements and are only found in high-end UHD TVs, which are priced at an average of $1,800 for 55-inch LED-lit models and $2,800 for 55-inch OLED TVs,” Kennedy said. “Even with the extra discounts offered by merchants and manufacturers, HDR technology is still out of reach for many consumers.”

Retail chains expected to see some of the heaviest promotional activity this year on TVs are expected to include: large big box CE chains including: Best Buy and hhgregg, which Kennedy pointed out are “traditionally the most aggressive merchants in the television market.”

In past years, BJ’s Wholesale Club has also offered a large number of promotions to its members, she observed.

“The three stores offer both the largest number of promotions and the largest average dollar value for their TV promotions,” according to Kennedy. “However, Walmart should not be discounted. In past years, the retailer has offered a staggered series of doorbuster deals with limited-time promotions on popular TVs, and usually offers some of the lowest TV prices to be found on Black Friday.”

Kennedy said much of the luster around Black Friday itself will be somewhat lessened for TV shoppers this year.

“Black Friday has become increasingly diluted over the past couple years, due to Thanksgiving Day creep and the need for retailers to continue deals throughout the weekend in order to compete with online resellers. Unless a shopper is willing to brave a stampede for a great bargain on a door-buster product, chances are good that they will be able to snag a good deal in store throughout the weekend or online from the comfort of their own home,” Kennedy offered.

“Last year, Black Friday weekend offered the lowest prices of the season so I would not recommend putting off a TV purchase if shoppers find a good deal. Promotional discounts will still be applied throughout the holiday selling season, but they will not be as deep as those found on Black Friday,” she added.

As for the industry, Black Friday continues to be of immense importance.

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“Despite the change in shopping habits to include Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday with less focus on Friday in-store shopping than previous years, the time period represents a barometer for the industry. Poor Black Friday sales numbers can have negatively impact a manufacturer’s yearly numbers since Q4 sales can account for as much as 40 percent of yearly volume,” she said.

As for brands to watch this year, Kennedy listed Sony, Sharp, and Samsung, which also had some of the highest discounts last year.

“Sharp models are already seen on retail shelves with attractive discounts and in some cases clearance prices,” Kennedy said, noting the manufacturer’s recent decision to sell its marketing rights to TV’s in the U.S. to China’s Hisense. Kennedy said shoppers shouldn’t have any problem warranty wise picking up a Sharp closeout.

“Sharp stated previously that it will continue to offer service and parts to its TVs, although whether that support comes through Hisense or Sharp is unclear,” she said.

At the top of the TV technologies to watch for holiday activity this year are LG’s OLED TV models, which the manufacturer has put heavy advertising emphasis behind going into the fourth quarter. But Kennedy warned that the newness of big-screen OLED production still limits any runaway sales potential, especially around the holidays.

“LG has been particularly aggressive with its OLED models over the past month, and is expected to continue heavy promotional activity through the end of the year,” noted Kennedy. “However, it is unlikely that there is much room for the manufacturer to drop prices any lower than they currently stand. Although LG’s OLED models are currently competitively priced with many UHD TVs, we are likely to see some surprisingly low UHD prices from other manufacturers. In addition, LG has been having a supply problem with their OLED models, which could impact their ability to fill orders through the end of the year.”

By Greg Tarr


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