New research from Nielsen out today notes that 23.3 percent of U.S. households owned an HDTV set as of Nov. 30. According to Nielsen, that figure is more than double what it was when the company started tracking HDTV sales in July of 2007.
Nielsen’s numbers are lower than an earlier study by Leichtman Research Group, which found that 34 percent of U.S. homes had HDTVs. Nielsen shows a steady growth of HDTV sales over the past 17 months, but manufacturers who were hoping for a big jump this holiday season may find themselves disappointed.
Though retailers have been offering discounts, a Consumer Electronics Association survey taken at the beginning of November found that consumers planned on cutting their holiday spending by 14 percent. And an NPD Group survey found that one-third of people who had been thinking of buying an HDTV said they could no longer afford one.
In an effort to attract consumers, retailers have been offering deep discounts on televisions; Home Media Magazine reports that HDTVs 40 inches or bigger accounted for half of all Black Friday sales. But those price cuts might not be enough as DisplaySearch, which tracks TV shipments from manufacturers to retailers, predicts a 1-2 percent decline in sales during the fourth quarter overall.
The number of HDTV households impacts more than just manufacturers and retailers. Fewer HD homes means fewer people ordering HD services from their cable or satellite providers, or the higher-priced HD content from download stores such as iTunes.
One factor that could give HDTV adoption a boost is the upcoming national switch to digital TV transmission, which will require either a digital TV or a converter to watch over-the-air broadcasts.