U.S. consumers blitzed on liquid-crystal display HDTVs sales in January ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, with sales jumping 15% last month over January 2012, according to research firm IHS.
About 2 million LCD TVs shipped in the U.S. in January 2013, up from about 1.8 million a year earlier, IHS said. Following the holiday shopping season, TV makers and retailers traditionally have offered promotional prices on larger-sized sets in January during the run up to the Super Bowl. This year's NFL championship on Feb. 3 pitted the San Francisco 49ers against the Baltimore Ravens.
By contrast, the smaller plasma display TV category declined slightly in January 2013, with about 0.2 million units shipping in the U.S. versus 0.3 million units in January 2012.
Price drops fueled the rush of sales, according to IHS. For example, Vizio and Sharp both were promoting 60-inch LCD TVs for $899 during the Super Bowl promotion period, $100 off initial starting prices. Samsung Electronics offered a high-end 60-inch set at $1,699 -- a $1,100 discount.
The four biggest LCD TV brands in the U.S. in January in alphabetical order were LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio, which together accounted for more than 50% of shipments, according to IHS. Of those manufacturers, 50-inch and larger LCD TVs accounted for 30% of total shipments last month, up from 19% during January 2012. Meanwhile, 60-inch and larger sets made up 12% of all sales, up from 3% one year earlier.
For larger screen sizes, plasma TVs are facing pricing pressure from LCD TVs, IHS says. Last month, pricing for 60-inch LCD TVs from second-tier brands was actually cheaper than for top-tier brands’ prices for 60-inch plasma models, according to the firm.
In March, TV makers are expected to launch new 2013 models in time for another major sporting event -- the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tourney.