By Patrick Avenell
The Australian flat panel TV market is actually performing well and average sales prices are steady, claimed Brad Wright, national sales and marketing manager, AV, at Samsung Electronics Australia.
Wright made this pronouncement, which counters recent general perception, at the launch of the Korean brand’s biggest ever TV, the 75-inch Series 9 ES9000.
While a number of TV suppliers are restructuring their business to take the emphasis of TV sales, such as Panasonic’s well publicised move into appliances, and retailers lament the lack of profitability in the TV market, Wright has provided a rare ray of optimism for this category.
“We’ve actually seen average sales prices steady off a little bit,” he told Current.com.au. “The trend is very much towards 55-inch and larger in size [models] and I think market itself has been really strong this year.
“We’ve had the lead up to the Olympics and some good activity from our retail partners and also some of the key brands during that really important May, June and July period, so I think the Australian TV marketplace is in a really bright spot right now and I think it will continue to be so through until the end of the year.”
This view is not shared by all, however, with investor research firm Fat Prophets largely blaming the dwindling profits from TV sales for the poor profit results of listed retailers JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, compared with previous years.
“The rush to buy flat screen TVs is well and truly over and consumer electronics retailers have hit the wall,” said Greg Fraser, author of Fat Prophets’ advice regarding JB Hi-Fi, released today.
“Observers of this sector will be familiar with the boom period enjoyed by these same retailers just a few short years ago: flat screen TVs were flying out the door with all manner of additional equipment and cables that sent sales soaring and profits pirouetting into record territory.
“Apart from the urge for consumers to update old CRT TVs to the perceptibly better flat screen technology, the higher Australian dollar was pulling prices rapidly down to affordable levels for most households.
“But that same factor of the rising currency eventually became the central problem for retailers, as the GFC caused demand to slump while prices kept falling.
“With no unit volume growth to offset the price declines, profits quickly evaporated.”
If the ES9000 does catch on with consumers, as Wright predicts, it will certainly not diminish average sales prices, as Samsung has affixed an audacious RRP to this panel: $9,499, making it comfortably the most expensive TV on the general retail market.
Samsung has thrown everything into this model: the best in Full HD LED technology, 3D and 2D-to-3D picture, all of Samsung’s Smart internet features, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Skype and motion control. The remote control has a track pad for mouse-like control of an on-screen cursor while there’s even a full size QWERTY keyboard thrown in for when using the native web browser.
The bezel is a wafer thin 7.9 millimetres and has been designed with “stunning rose gold” according to Samsung’s propaganda machine.
When Current.com.au touched and felt this TV yesterday, it couldn’t help but think it is the best TV we’d ever seen.
The "rose gold" bezel.
What the ES9000 would look like in your living room, if you lived in a Kings Cross penthouse. Apologies once again for my poor iPhone 4S photography skills. Click on image for a bigger, but not better, version.