TV Set Brands fight with price in February

February is a tough time for the CE business as sales are low and retailers are mostly trying to clear their stocks. This is magnified for the TV business as it is the segment with highest revenue in the CE market. TV brands want to introduce their new models but, before that, stock in the channels has to be cleared. Meko tracks the advertised prices of TVs from the internet. We believe this gives us an early warning of which brands are attacking the market.

In Western Europe (the major seven countries) among 32” 1080p models, we have noted that Panasonic’s and Philips’ average advertised prices were down by 3% and 5% MoM (month on month) respectively. In the case of Philips, the reason was mainly the reductions on LED-backlit models, while Panasonic’s prices were down across both backlight types. Following these price reductions on the LED range, Philips’ average price for LED fell below that of Samsung. This was based on 730 prices from Samsung and 400 prices from Philips.

When we dig down into the detail, we can see that the key reason for Philips’ price decline was 200Hz model price reductions for the models which are not S3D. I really never saw why a consumer would spend a fortune for a 200Hz TV which doesn’t have S3D. The premium for 200Hz doesn’t seem justified for such a slight improvement in the picture quality. There might be some people ready to spend the extra, but not many. Talking about 200Hz 32”, 3D at 32” was only available from Samsung in 2010. However, this disappeared from advertisers’ listings in January.

In 40/42” 1080p category, there are price reductions from all the TV brands, but the highest were from Philips, Toshiba, Samsung and Sony, with MoM declines of 8%, 4%, 3% and 3% respectively. The price trend chart shows that Philips’ average prices beat those of Panasonic prices and attack Samsung. Philips is not competitive at entry-price level. such as for 50Hz CCFL, but for upper mainstream models with LED and 100Hz, Philips’ pricing beats all the major TV brands and is around Toshiba’s price levels. It is a clear attack on Toshiba, LG and Samsung.

Moving to S3D models, the LED-backlit 40/42” 1080p category saw price drops from all the brands, with LG and Sony the most aggressive at 9% and 8% MoM, followed by Toshiba at 6%. Toshiba’s average price fell below that of Samsung for S3D models. Sony’s pricing also stayed very competitive as it remained above LG in terms of price. Clearly Sony and LG want some share from Samsung’s big S3D market.

When we check the by country price trends, we can see a clear warning from Spain. The MoM price trend for 32” 1080p was down by 5% meaning a 21% YoY price decline. Among the top six western European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands), Spain remains at the bottom with a price level of €423, which is 10% below Germany’s average price. We hear that sales in Spain during Q4 have not been too bad in unit terms. However, the demand was mostly for low-priced products.