The incredible shrinking TV replacement cycle~改觀!電視換機週期大幅縮短

The incredible shrinking TV replacement cycle

Consumers only replace their TVs every seven or eight years: That’s been industry gospel and is frequently cited as a reason for slow smart TV adoption, as well as one reason many people say Apple shouldn’t enter the TV business. But the rapid adoption of HDTVs suggests that old wisdom might be becoming outdated, as prices fall and consumer electronics manufacturers add new features and content to their HDTV sets.
As part of the its Fourth Quarter 2011 Report, Leichtman Research Group noted that over the past five years, more than half of U.S. households have adopted HDTV sets. LRG found that by the end of 2011, 69 percent of households in the U.S. had at least one HDTV set, which is up dramatically from 17 percent five years ago. What’s more, about 20 percent of all households bought HDTVs last year, with another 19 percent expected to purchase HDTVs over the next 12 months.
But that only tells part of the story, as a growing number of consumers have two or more HDTV sets in the home. According to LRG, about half of all HDTV households have more than one set in the home — and about a third have three or more. That’s up from about a sixth of all households two years ago, and 4 percent in 2006.
What that speaks to is much more frequent purchasing among consumers than TV manufacturers typically see. It also is part of a phenomenon by which consumers don’t necessarily get rid of older sets, but move them around the house when they get a new HDTV. So what they’re really replacing is the TV set that gets watched the most — typically the one in a family’s living room.
So what’s driving the increased adoption?
Pretty clearly the number one factor is a drastic decrease in price among HDTVs. LRG’s research shows that the mean spending on an HDTV set was about $940 in 2011. That’s down 23 percent in less than two years, and half of what consumers paid five years ago. Even at the low end, prices are no longer out of reach for most consumers: a 32-inch flat-panel LCD HDTV can typically be had for as little as $250 on Amazon.com.
Not surprisingly, HDTV ownership is concentrated among those who can afford to splurge on consumer electronics. LRG reports that 85 percent of households with an annual incomes of more than $75,000 have an HDTV. That compares with 67 percent of households that make between $30,000 and $75,000. But HDTV adoption isn’t just limited to the rich and middle class: Falling prices mean that nearly 50 percent of households with incomes of under $30,000 also have HDTVs.
HDTVs might not have reached the two-year replacement cycle that most consumers have for their mobile phones, but consumers are definitely making HDTV purchase decisions more often. Those decisions are happening more along the lines of the three- to five-year cycles that consumers have for computing devices.
“Low prices make it tempting for people to replace their TV sets more often. We estimate that today’s household replaces it’s TV set every four to five years. If TVs continue to get bigger, better and significantly cheaper, we estimate that people will replace them more often,” Retrevo spokesperson Jennifer Jacobson wrote in an email.
And as time goes on, there might be another reason for consumers to begin replacing their TV sets — or at least, the TV sets in their living rooms: They might soon become obsolete. As more and more “smart” TVs enter the market, the applications and app development frameworks available on the first generation of Internet-ready televisions will find themselves eclipsed by more powerful and attractive options. In the same way that consumers upgrade their mobile and computing devices for those with more features and processing power, they could soon find themselves replacing those early connected TVs to take advantage of new applications and capabilities.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Sugar Pond.

改觀!電視換機週期大幅縮短

    
一般而言,一台電視機的生命週期約為七到八年,這被市場奉為聖旨,也被拿來合理化智慧電視遲遲未能起飛的窘境,更有人因此斷定Apple不該進軍電視市場。然而,隨著高畫質電視HDTV價格下降,消費電子製造商更不斷推出新功能與服務內容,電視機的生命週期將要改觀。
美國Leichtman Research Group (LRG) 在2011年第四季的調查報告中指出,過去五年來超過半數的美國家庭購買了HDTV。截至2011年年底,69%的美國家庭擁有至少一台HDTV,比五年前大幅成長了17%,其中約20%的購買行為發生在去年,另有19%的受調者表示未來一年中想要購買HDTV。
這些數字還不夠驚人。LRG的調查更發現越來越多消費者家中不只有一台HDTV,約三分之一的家庭家中有三台或三台以上的HDTV。兩年前只有六分之一的美國家庭家裡有這麼多台電視,2006年時甚至只有4%的家庭有此盛況。
現在,電視購買行為比製造商想像的頻繁多了!值得注意的是,消費者買了新機之後並不會淘汰舊的電視機,他們會把舊的機種移到家中別的房間。那麼換機的動機到底是什麼呢?
最大的誘因當然是HDTV的價格親民。2011年HDTV平均售價約為940美元,較兩年前下降23%,也是五年前的一半;低階的32吋平面液晶電視在Amazon.com上的售價甚至只要250美元。越來越低的價格讓HDTV不再專屬於中產或高收入階級,年收入低於三萬美元的家庭也能輕鬆負擔。
即便HDTV的生命週期還未縮短到與其它消費性電子一樣短,例如平均兩年換一次手機,但可以確定的是購買電視的決定越來越常在消費者心中出現,也開始趨近其他電腦運算裝置的生命週期。
另一個購買電視的動機也很有趣,那就是隨著智慧電視發燒,要買到一台「不聰明的電視」將越來越難。猶有甚者,第一代聯網電視將很快被功能更強大的機種取代,下一波智慧電視換機潮可能也在蠢蠢欲動了!