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Cable/Video

Sales soar for TVs, especially bigger ones, in pandemic year

In another sign that the COVID-19 pandemic is driving consumer electronics sales to new heights, Americans are snapping up TVs at a greater rate than ever and buying ever-bigger sets as the holiday shopping season nears an end.

Fresh research data released by the NPD Group this week indicates that US TV sales have climbed 19% so far this year, compared with the same period in 2019. In particular, sales of larger sets have rocketed higher, with 65-inch TV screen sales up 27% over their 2019 levels and sales of 70-inch and bigger TVs up 82% through the end of November.

Overall, 65-inch and larger screens have made up 21% of total TV sales this year, rising from 18% in 2019 and 13% in 2018. NPD Group projects that the trend will continue over at least the next couple of years, with 65-inch and bigger screens accounting for 27% of total TV sales by 2022.

As a result, NPD researchers said that the average size of new, or "replacement," TVs owned by US consumers continue to increase. According to the firm's latest TV Ownership Trends Report, the average size of a replacement screen climbed to 51 inches in November, up from 49 inches the year before and 47 inches in November 2018.

TVs are also getting younger as consumers replace them more often with ever-bigger screens. NPD said the average age for an installed US TV is now 4.9 years, down from 5.4 last year.

In another key finding, NPD said such features as high-dynamic range (HDR) and software apps are resonating more with consumers these days. The study found that HDR now plays a role in 13% of replacement TV sales, while the availability of apps influences 31% of replacement TV sales, up from 23% a year ago.

"This year consumers saw the value in bigger screens and newer, more modern technology to support their entertainment needs," said Stephen Baker, vice president and industry advisor for NPD Group, in a prepared statement. "This commitment to new technology and the value it can provide to the consumer will be key for the continued growth in larger screen TVs in 2021 and beyond."

The latest TV sale data comes just a couple of days after a separate study by Strategy Analytics revealed that global sales of connected TV (CTV) devices will surpass 111 million units in Q4, up 32% from the Q3 total and 6% from the year-ago figure. That will lift sales for all of 2020 to 315.6 million units, also up 6% from last year and the highest annual total yet.

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— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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