While plasma TVs sometimes seem like the forgotten stepchild of the flat-panel TV business, a new market research report says that during the past year, plasma TV sales were actually up more than 40-inch or larger LCD TVs during the same period, though they still account for a smaller percentage of overall TV sales.
In its "USA Large Area Display Report," Portland, Oregon-based Quixel Research said [PDF] that unit sales of plasma TVs were up 14 percent from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010, compared to a 6 percent jump in LCD TVs with screens 40-inch and larger. In the first quarter of 2010, plasma represented about 20 percent of all TVs 40 inches or larger, Quixel said.
“Plasma TV sales are still strong because they provide a great value, and when consumers do a little homework they understand that plasma TVs offer picture quality that is just as good, and sometimes better, than LCD TVs,” stated Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research’s principal. “It also helps that almost all the plasma TVs available today are offered by top-tier brands and for many consumers that seals the deal.”
While year-to-year sales for the large-screen category rose overall, Quixel said that sales for both LCD and plasma TVs fell significantly in the second quarter of this year, a drop blamed on "typical seasonal decline and a recessionary marketplace."
Fueling growth in the LCD category were increased sales of 55- and 60-inch models, and Quixel reports that during the second quarter of the year, LED-backlit 55-inch LCDs for the first time outsold similarly sized sets with conventional CCFL backlights.
–James K. Willcox