Television sales in Australia in 2009 were worth more than $3.2 billion. We're currently seeing 3D TV spruiked as the latest reason to upgrade, but do those numbers indicate that we don't really need a new television for a while?
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James Wells at consumer electronics trade title Current quotes some recent statistics that indicate just how much we like buying TVs down under. According to market research firm GfK, that $3.2 billion in TV sales equates to around 3 million TVs. It also means that TV sales in Australia outstripped all other categories of consumer electronics combined. And that figure has risen pretty rapidly: according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2003-2004 the total market for TV sets was around $1.3 billion.
While that might sound like good news for people who flog televisions, there's a sting in the tale if you're a retailer: the price people are paying for TVs is also steadily declining. Over the last four years, the average selling price for an LCD display has dropped from $3000 to $1000 — a familiar scenario for anyone who has taken their shiny new TV home and then seen it for a much lower price two weeks later.
There's been a number of major drivers for people replacing their TVs in recent years. The switch from analogue to digital broadcasting has been the impetus for upgrading in many cases. While you can generally switch to digital simply by adding a set-top box, it seems many of us view the need to migrate as a neat excuse to buy a new screen instead. However, with three quarters of Australians now able to receive digital broadcasts, that's not likely to be such an incentive for future purchases.
The general shift away from bulky CRT TVs to flat-panel displays has also been a major factor, to the point where the only CRT models you'll be able to find new these days will be small-screen, no-name models sold in obscure electrical stores. There's no disputing that flat panels offer a host of benefits (lower power consumption and less wasted space being the obvious ones), but again, once people have shifted to using them, there's not necessarily a reason to buy another one in a hurry.
The one saving grace may be that with LCD displays so cheap, we don't seem to think twice about adding another screen to the home. Not only do we favour multiple monitors at work, we drop a TV in pretty much any location we can think of — especially given how low the prices have become.
I'll admit to coming in firmly on the low side of the numbers here — there's just one TV in my house — but I suspect I'm a statistical aberration. How many televisions do you already own, and could you imagine buying more? Tell us in the comments.
GfK confirms the TV market is in decline [Current]
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