Why are LCD TV prices falling? You're not buying, that's why

Analyst: Slumping demand in Western Europe and North America is primarily to blame for the poor performance of sales of LCD TV panels

The days leading up to Black Friday always bring door-buster deals on big-screen TVs, and this year is no exception. According to market research firm IHS, U.S. retailers will sell 42-inch, 1080p LED HDTVs for less than US$400 by Black Friday.

And don't write off these prices as one-time loss leaders, either. According to dealnews editor Jeff Somogyi, the TV price-cutting has just begun:

"For the most part, we'll see name brand TVs hit or beat these Black Friday price lows fairly quickly," Somogyi writes. "Our dealnews archives indicate that, as a general rule of thumb, we'll see brand name LCD HDTVs hit Black Friday price lows during the December to February time frame."

A year ago, top-tier 42in TVs were selling for US$700 to US$800.

Why are prices dropping?

So why the TV fire sale? The main reason, IHS reports, is anemic sales in key markets.

"Slumping demand in Western Europe and North America are primarily to blame for the poor performance of LCD TV panels," wrote Sweta Dash, IHS senior director for liquid crystal displays research, in a press release. "Given the already faltering economies of those regions and the threat of a double-dip recession looming, global LCD TV shipments continue to suffer, impacting the TV panel market especially hard."

You can thank China for cheaper LCD TVs too. According to IHS, LCD panel purchases in China are typically completed in August, before the country's National Day celebrations in October. During the weeklong event, Chinese shoppers buy more consumer goods, including televisions. The next boom in LCD TV purchases in China won't occur until the end of the year.

Well, whatever's causing these low HDTV prices, the time is right for bargain hunters to make their move.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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