Holiday Weekend HDTV Sales Driven By Deals

As predicted, HDTV sales led demand among consumer electronics from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, with retailers both online and off seeing huge interest from consumers (like me) looking to replace their old teevees over the holiday weekend.

Vizio reported record sales over the week of Black Friday, for instance, with more than 280,000 units sold — representing a 40 percent increase over the previous year. Vizio was hardly alone, however; as the Retrevo CE Demand Index shows, sales of TV sets during the weekend holiday dwarfed demand from last year’s holiday season.

Retrevo TV Demand Index
Retrevo TV Demand Index

So what were consumers buying over the weekend? Based on preliminary data from Retrevo, for the most part they were purchasing small, cheap, store-brand LCD TVs (like me!).

Andrew Eisner, Retrevo’s director of community and content, says holiday purchases were marked by value shopping, with consumers choosing low-cost, store-brand HDTVs — like Best Buy’s (s BBY) Dynex or Insignia brands — ahead of similar  products from more expensive name-brand CE manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, or LG.

Not just that, but the value-hunting extended to consumers purchasing smaller HDTVs. While the sales for HDTVs larger than 37″ grew by about 170 percent over the past seven days, according to Retrevo vice president of marketing Manish Rathi, sales of smaller HDTVs grew by about 300 percent over the same period. Other data suggests a divide between sales in small HDTVs versus those that could fill an entire wall.  Despite reporting sales of more than 280,000 HDTVs over the weekend, for instance, Vizio “only” sold about 20,000 that were 50″ or bigger.

Based on the demand for smaller HDTVs, it shouldn’t be surprising that LCD TVs led the way over the weekend. According to Retrevo, 80 percent of shoppers looked at LCD TVs, compared to 17 percent that looked at plasma sets, and just 1.5 percent that scoped out rear-projection TVs.

Many of those shopping for a new TV would be replacing older sets that weren’t HD-compatible. According to Eisner, 48 percent of shoppers surveyed said that the HDTV sets they were looking to buy over the weekend would be their first. That shouldn’t be too surprising — according to a study from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) earlier this week, about 46 percent of U.S. households have at least one HDTV set, which means the other half of the country might be looking for cheap deals to catch up.