TV Buying Trends: JB Hi-Fi Is King, Harvey Norman Sheds Customers

TV Buying Trends: JB Hi-Fi Is King, Harvey Norman Sheds Customers

Consumer research group Global Reviews has released a report analysing the experiences of Australians looking to buy 46-55-inch televisions online. It found that JB Hi-Fi is the most preferred online store due to a perception of having the best prices. Harvey Norman, meanwhile, has a hard time holding onto would-be customers, with the majority defecting to another retailer before making their final purchase.

In a bid to discover how online shoppers reached their TV buying decision, Global Reviews ran a survey covering the entire purchasing process. Respondents were asked which retailers they were aware of before they began their search, the ones they visited and/or shortlisted and finally the retailer they decided to buy from and why.

JB Hi-Fi was the dominant choice, topping the survey in all stages of TV research. 49 per cent of
respondents visited JB Hi-Fi online, of which 68 per cent shortlisted the store. Ultimately, 33 per cent of all those surveyed selected JB Hi-Fi as their preferred brand. This was due to a combination of having purchased from them before (52%) and a perception of having the best prices (48%).

Interestingly, Harvey Norman shared similar numbers to JB Hi-Fi during the research stage of TV purchases: the brand was visited by 46 per cent and shortlisted by 55 per cent. However, when it came to actual TV purchases, the results for Harvey Norman plummeted, with just 17 per cent of those surveyed electing it as their preferred brand.

In other words, more than half of customers who shortlisted Harvey Norman ultimately decided to shop elsewhere. Most of the customers who did choose Harvey Norman based their decision on it being a reputable brand they could trust, rather than price.

The Good Guys experienced similar difficulties when it came to holding onto its customers; 60 per cent of respondents shortlisted The Good Guys, but only 19 per cent stuck around to close the deal.

As you’d expect from an online-only survey, Kogan also fared pretty well, particularly when it came to price perception and stealing customers from other retailers. However, it only ended up with a ‘preferred brand’ score of 12 per cent — five per cent lower than Harvey Norman.

Harvey Norman also trumped Kogan when it came to how easy it was to locate products on its online store. According to Global Reviews, these results reflect the importance of online customer experience, along with price.

At first glance, the low placement of Kogan might seem surprising in an online retail survey. However, it makes sense when you consider it only stocks Kogan TVs; anyone looking to purchase a different brand is therefore forced to shop elsewhere out of necessity.

Have you ever purchased a TV online? Which retailer did you end up going with and why? Tell us in the comments section below!


  • Im my experience, JB, Good Guys and Hardly Normal, will all undercut each other if you can get a lower quote elsewhere…!

  • Refuse to shop at Harvey Norman simply for the fact I hate how they constantly scream ads at you on TV….plus they are always the most expensive out of the lot of them.

  • Having recently gone to buy a TV, I ended up at at JB Hi Fi simply because Good Guys had awful customer service. I wandered around the TV section for over half an hour and didn’t see a single sales guy, and in the end I left because no one seemed interested in the fact that I was ready to purchase. Walked into JB’s and saw a sales guy straight away.

    • It’s worth noting that this survey focused on the online arm of each retailer: face-to-face customer service wasn’t taken into account.

  • I purchased my last TV from The Good Guys, because they were able to price match an online price, their service was pretty good, and if you find a cheaper price within 30 days, they refund 120% of the difference.

    At JB the sales guy seemed uninterested in making the sale, and told me that there was no way he could do better than $1007 (even though this model had been selling for $999 for about 2 months straight at JB, and an offer two weeks prior had the TV at $899)

    The Harvey Norman guy was surprisingly helpful, but told me straight up that I should buy it from the Good Guys, as he could not compete with their price.

  • It astonishes me how my parents keep going back to harvey norman, despite consistantly bad service.

    • It offers a more traditional shopping experience and usually includes the other franchises like furniture to cover a few things in one spot. JB can be quite hectic at times which can put people off. JB is definitely my choice of the lot but if looking for a very specific item that other stores have sold out of (e.g. birthday present or console game pre-order like Halo: Reach Legendary Edition) I have to admit I have used HN as a last resort.

    • As those generations pass on.. so to will HN. (the business… I’m sure Gerry will kick onto to a ripe old age)

      HN is the dinosaur of Aussie retailing…. clinging desperately to the life raft they know and understand… the old retail models that made them rich 20 years ago.

  • my father bought a new telly recently, harvey norman customer service was pathetic and they lost us to JB up the street. they wouldn’t even let us look at the remote in HN but in JB they couldn’t have been more helpful, showed us the remote, the features, everything….. then undercut HN by $10.

  • I know this is focused on online sales, but I think most people have had bad face to face experiences before and that sours our perception even if we are buying online.

    My parents got ripped a new one back in the day buying our first PC from Harvey Norman, so I promised my self never to support them again. We once waited for 45minutes for some one to serve us at a Good Guys when we were wanting to buy a washing machine, they were too busy talking to each other at the counter to come and even ask us if we needed a hand.

    JB has always been good face to face, all the staff always say Hi even if they are doing something (re-stocking shelves or helping another customer), and they always ask if I need a hand.

    I have always been brought up with the moral, always treat people the way you want to be treated. JB staff have always treated me well, so I will always support them.

  • I am shopping for a TV right now and decided to wait until June as I hope UHD market hopefully matures and price drops. I was in JB looking at at the Sony – it was amazing and the only UHD they had ( apparently)…. until I turned around and behind me I saw the Samsung UHD for $1000 cheaper. Even though the more expensive Sony was ugly and more expensive , i wanted the Samsung but the sales guy talked me out of it even though it was cheaper and seems like a great TV. Commission perhaps ?? I dunno, but he confused me enough to wait until June when there are a few more models I hope.

  • A guy at my work always buys his whitegoods & electronics from HN. I asked him about it (being a hardcore online bargain hunter myself who’s never bought from HN) and he said he’s had things break in the past (washing machine & TV) and HN have come out to his house swap things over, years later, no questions asked, sometimes with an upgraded model. He said that the peace of mind & warranty were worth the extra bucks for him, so fair enough.

    For me though, I’ll probably continue sticking with cheapest online price.

  • +1 JB

    TGG and Hardly Normal sales guys give me the impression of used car salesmen. With their high price tags, greased hair and middle-aged men in shirts.

    • They are tending towards that way… even JB a little… the way they mark things up with stupidly high ticket prices and then expect you to “do the dance” and spend so much time and effort haggling and shopping around and dealing and wheeling back a forth all over town… Meh…

      Just let me research the things myself online… with far more relevant, unbiased reviews, video reviews, user reviews, manuals and technical information than I will ever get in a retail store.

      Just let me buy online and have it delivered and I’m happy chappy…

  • I generally prefer HN for their decor, I’m uncomfortable with all that black and yellow advertising at JB.
    However I browse at both.

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