As we all know, the Super Bowl is primetime for TV sales, especially large screens. According to The NPD Group’s Weekly Tracking Service, Super Bowl week in 2012 was the third largest sales week of the year for TVs 50 inches and larger (behind just Black Friday and the week before Christmas) with sales that week representing a 25 percent increase over 2011. Looking forward to this year’s game, expectations are sales will be just as strong given the overall trend towards bigger screens and higher demand in two decent sized markets that haven’t had Super Bowl fever in more than 10 years.
Within the segment, 55 inch sets drove almost half of the 50+ volume during the 2012 Super Bowl week, however sales of 60, 65, and 70 inch TVs are poised to gain share. Sales of those three sizes accounted for 5 percent of all flat panel sales during Super Bowl week — nearly the same proportion as during Black Friday– and up from just over 1 percent the same week in 2011. And throughout 2012, we saw unit share of these ultra big screen sizes steadily rise, growing from 3 percent in Q1 to just over 5 percent by Q4. While this is evidence that consumers are starting to gravitate towards bigger screens (and that they’ve become more affordable) it also shows manufacturers have recognized the opportunity, making more sets that meet the big screen demand. In 2012, the number of TVs the top five brands in these sizes offered (Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Vizio, and Sharp) nearly doubled. A quote from a well-known movie from another sport sums it up pretty well – “if you build it, they will come.”
Three weeks into 2013, these new screen sizes look to be the MVPs of the increasingly revenue challenged TV market. Unit sales during these first three weeks have doubled compared to 2012, share has grown to 7 percent of total sales, and while the sets have become much more affordable, robust demand for the foreseeable future means revenue will continue to grow. Even as new premium features like voice and gesture recognition attempt to make TV watching a more “lean forward” activity, the one feature TV buyers have proven to always care about is large screen size.