4K/UHD TV sales accelerating as awareness rises, prices drop

Increased consumer awareness – and falling prices – have helped spur Ultra-HD TV sales in the first 10 months of the year with the holiday shopping season likely to goose it a little more.

Researcher NPD Group said 4K TV sales now account for 7% of overall U.S. flat panel revenues, or about $668 million through October 25.

Already this year, unit sales of 4K/UHD televisions are 9X the number of sets sold in 2013.

Average selling price (ASP) of the 4k/UHD sets was $2,400, compared to an average of $450 for flat panel TV options overall, highlighting the industry’s opportunity to benefit from the growth in 4K/UHD this holiday season. In the past four weeks, prices for the 4K/UHD sets have come down 10%, with more cuts expected for the holiday season.

“This has been a year of increased awareness and an evolution in pricing for 4K/UHD TVs,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis, The NPD Group, Inc. “4K/UHD was still very new to the market during the 2013 holiday shopping season, but we believe it will exceed everyone’s expectations this year as consumers have had a full year to learn about the benefits 4K/UHD brings to the market.”

And, when it comes to 4K/UHD, size does matter, NPD found. More than 70% of the 4K/UHD TVs sold year-to-date in 2014 were either 55” or 65” displays.

NPD said Samsung has the biggest chunk of the nascent market, 50%, as it’s offered “a variety of competitively priced options, concentrating on the hottest screen size segments.” Sony has about 25% of the market, LG 11% and SEIKI 11%.

“As holiday promotions get underway, this year will be the critical point for 4K/UHD to begin to claim its position as the ‘must have’ premium TV experience,” Baker said. “The right pricing combined with increased awareness will be essential for success this holiday.”

The lingering question, of course, is will 4K content follow the CE segment’s lead?

Count on it.

The BBC, for example, has been shoot chunks of its content in 4K for a couple of years, many sports broadcasters already are using 4K cameras fir ultra slow-motion and companies like Netflix have expressed strong support for the format.

Unlike 3D, 4K is a format that’s more consumer friendly. And, as Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge said during the company’s Q3 earnings call, consumers are always eager to watch higher-quality content.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn