Research: Over 8m TV sets sold in UK in 2020

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With lockdown measures enforced around the globe, it is understandable that 2020 saw the steepest growth in UK TV sales in over a generation, which exceeded 8 million sets, reports Futuresource Consulting. Being deprived of opportunities to enjoy holidays, cinema, theatre, concerts and so forth, people naturally gravitated towards the TV and diverted their spend towards TV sets and services, such as Netflix and Disney+.

Sporting Seasonal Trends to Drive Sales Further

With the pandemic stretching further into 2021, it is likely that above normal demand for new TVs will extend well into this year. The delayed European Football Championships in June/July and the Olympics in July/August will provide further motivation to purchase a new TV for those who have not already done so. Soundbars have also enjoyed boosted demand because of lockdowns as vieers seek to enhance sporting events and movie experiences at home.

Consumer Demand for Simple Smart Features

In terms of features, the Futuresource Living with Digital consumer research programme, conducted last June, reveals that TV owners in the UK put Smart features top of their list for their next TV purchase. Second on their checklist is 4K, with a larger screen third on the priority list.

Other options such as OLED/QLED and 8K come much further down in priority, outranked by the ability to operate the set using a voice assistant such as Google or Alexa. This emphasises the fact that consumers crave simplicity of user interface, in addition to OTT services and good picture quality.

That said, screen technology is always an area of focus, so shoppers will be eyeing up OLED and QLED sets and considering the respective costs and benefits with screen size in mind. Environmental and energy conscious consumers will also increasingly be asking about the amount of energy consumed by TV sets, with higher resolution often leading to higher energy consumption.

Online Channel Promotion is Key

Futuresource believes that over half of all TV sets bought in the UK last year were acquired online (either for click and collect or delivery), and expects a similarly high proportion this year. Retailers need to be aware that many consumers will be relying heavily upon online reviews and promotional material to help pilot them through the many options available.

Whilst the pandemic and its ongoing impact remains volatile, Futuresource anticipates that TV set sales will be lower than last year’s total. However, they will still exceed the total sold in 2019. In terms of spend on entertainment services, the reopening of cinemas will reduce the reliance on the TV for enjoying movies, but it will at least help the flow of new releases to OTT and pay-TV platforms later in the year.


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