We are currently in the midst of make-it-or-break-it time for many consumer electronics manufacturers, otherwise known as The Holiday Season. Perhaps the most visible example of this mad rush to pad the bottom line by offering deals to consumers comes from the TV industry. Questions abound in the weeks leading up to Black Friday and beyond: How low will they go? Who will offer the most dramatic sale? Will there be any trample-worthy doorbusters this year?
These are all valid questions. But as someone who spends her days watching and analyzing the TV market, I’m curious about some slightly different topics:
What do the trends tell us about low prices?
Between 2014 and 2015, the average net price of all TVs offered in major retail stores during the last two months of the year fell by as much as 17%, depending on screen size. This number includes the entire television assortment, including high-end flagship models as well as entry-level Black Friday doorbusters. If trends continue in the same manner this year, we can expect to see average prices for 55-inch TVs to fall below $1,000, and for 65-inch models to hover around $1,150.
Do you really have to pay that much?
As I mentioned above, those average prices include a lot of really expensive models. When you shop for a TV, you’re often bombarded with walls full of these large and expensive screens. This emphasis on big, bright displays can make it seem as though all TVs are really expensive. That’s because the profit margins are better for the more expensive models, so that’s what the retailers and manufacturers are going to push. But the truth is a little different: as of early November, the average selling price of half of all TVs offered in retail stores was under $500. An additional 25% of all TVs were priced below $1,000. The TV market is a price-driven one, and TV sellers know this. In fact, the price breakdown of the TV market has looked more or less the same for years.
Prices don’t tell the whole story. So what can you get for that money?
What does change year-over-year is what you can get with that $500 or $1,000. Every year, those formerly expensive new features get cheaper. This means that if you wait a year or two after a new technology is introduced, you can always get it for less later on. A good example of this is 4K TVs, which have come a long way since they first hit the market several years ago. Over the past year, the number of 4K Ultra HDTVs priced below $1,000 in retail increased by a whopping 260%!!! If you have been waiting for prices to drop before you jumped on a 4K TV, your wait is over. Other technologies have also trickled down to smaller price bands over the past year, including HDR and Smart functions. (Psst! For a quick summary of confusing TV terminology, see my past blog on TV Buying.
The bottom line is that the holiday season is the best time to buy this year’s TV models and the savings you’ll see over last year’s prices are great. Just do your research, know what you want, and hit the stores for some comparison shopping.