Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, February 07, 2008

HDTV Penetration and Sales Figures

Bottom Line
Our early estimate is 16-19 million units sold to U.S. consumers in 2007, with total penetration sitting between 35-38%. We'd love feedback on these figures.

Searching High and Low
So, just how many high-definition television sets were sold in 2007? You'd think that this would be a figure that everybody is quoting, particularly with with Q4 results coming in, and having just past both the holiday shopping season and the pre-Super Bowl television-buying spree. It turns out, however, that the numbers aren't quite as easy to find. We did find a recent Wired article that noted that HDTV sales preceding last year's Super Bowl were for 2.5 million units (quoting The National Retail Federation). However, given much of the promotions during the 2007 holiday season, it was expected that sales after Christmas but before the game would be fewer.

Given the difficulty in determining the HDTV landscape, we wanted to provide some guidance on where we think HDTV penetration and sales sit. Let's start with penetration.

HDTV Penetration
The Consumer Electronics Association pegged HDTV penetration at 33% of U.S. households as of July 2007, and has predicted HDTV shipments to dealers at around 20 million for the year. This is from the organization's report from July 2007 - U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts 2003-2008.

As of this writing, we are preparing to go to field with our third-annual National Scan of Technology Ownership study. This random digit-dial study will be a truly-representative survey of all U.S. households. In this study, we are asking directly about high-definition television penetration, so we’ll have a target number to provide in early March. In the meantime, we did conduct a study in December 2007 called The Changing Consumer Electronics Purchase Process, a survey of 2,700 U.S. broadband households. In this study, we find that 49% of broadband households reported owning at least one “flat-panel television” (it should be noted that we did not make a distinction as to whether these were actual high-definition televisions). Given 60 million broadband households in the U.S. as year-end 2007, this would equate into 29 million households (or 26% of all households). If you add the ownership of non-flat-panel HD tube televisions as well as non-broadband households owning an HDTV, we think that 36% penetration is reasonable. I’ll be interested to see how that ties back into The National Scan.

HDTV Sales
From The Changing Consumer Electronics Purchase Process, we have some interesting data on the different types of (potential) HDTV displays that were purchased in the past 12 months.

  • 21% of the households reported buying an LCD flat-panel TV within the last 12 months (this would equate into 12.6 million households);
  • 8% of the households reported buying a plasma flat-panel TV within the last 12 months (this would equate into 4.8 million households); and
  • 6% of the households reported buying an HD tube TV (this would equate into 3.6 million households)

If we add up these numbers, we arrive at 21 million households and 21 million unit sales (assuming only one HD display per household). Taking into account that not all of the televisions were HD, I think that sales figures might be closer to 16-19 million, and probably closer to 18 million. I am really interested in seeing the results of our nationally-representative study to see if the numbers are aligning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What exactly is "a plasma LCD flat-panel TV"?

11:35 AM  
Blogger Kurt Scherf said...

Good catch. That was a fast-typing typo. It's a plasma flat-panel TV.

Don't worry; there's not a new display technology on the horizon ... at least not one of which I'm aware!

Thanks for the careful read.


11:43 AM  

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