For years, US consumers have had three simple criteria when buying a television: price, size and picture quality. While those factors remain, American television buyers now are placing increased importance on technology features, including Internet connectivity and 3D display, according to the Smart TV Consumer Survey conducted by the IHS Screen Digest TV Systems Service from information and analytics provider IHS.
The IHS Smart TV Consumer Survey, which was completed in June 2012 but reveals insights about current buying trends, polled 658 US television owners over 18 years old.
Among US consumers who planned to purchase a television during the 12-month period following the completion of the survey, 30.7 per cent said they would buy an Internet-connected set. In comparison, only 18.1 per cent of consumers that bought a television during the 12 months before the survey said they desired an Internet-connected set.
Meanwhile, 18.8 per cent of consumers planning to buy a television said they intend to purchase a 3D model, compared to 6.6 per cent for those who already bought a set.
“Features most commonly found on high-end TV models and bigger screen-size sets, like 3D and Internet-connectivity, are becoming more important to US consumers,” said Veronica Thayer, TV systems analyst at IHS. “But the appeal of 3D TV remains far lower than that of Internet-enabled sets – often marketed as Smart TVs.”
IHS advises that liquid crystal display televisions (LCD TV) that employ light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting technology – commercially known as the LED TV – have attracted the most consumer attention. This is largely because of targeted ad campaigns for LED TVs that highlight a thinner bezel, brighter screen and more vivid colours. Results indicate that 30 per cent of US consumers who purchased a television 12 months before the survey said that the LED TV proved to be a main purchase driver.
Along with consumer preference, other factors are making LED backlighting more popular, with LED TV shipments in the United States soaring to almost half of total TV set units in 2012, and surpassing those of CCFL-backlit LCD TVs for the first time. The price gap is shrinking between LEDs and LCD TVs using the older CCFL backlighting technology. Meanwhile, more LED TV models are available.
The biggest factor driving television purchasers among US consumers during the 12 months before the survey was the desire for a larger set. Half of consumers indicated size was a factor in their purchase. This percentage declined to only 48 per cent for those planning to buy a television.
The study also revealed that interest in bigger screen sizes is increasing in the United States, with 36 per cent of consumers planning to buy a TV of at least 50 inches, up from 24 per cent among consumers that purchased a TV the previous year.
However, price was the biggest factor for those planning to buy a set, at 53 per cent, up from 27.9 per cent for those who already bought a set.