LCD TVs are the flavour of this festival season

If you have been wondering this festival season, what consumer durables Indians are buying, it is not difficult to find. One look at the daily newspapers will give away the answer. In today’s Deccan Chronicle, out of 18 pages, a full 4 pages are numerous ads for LCD TVs. Ads from the manufacturers, ads from big retailers and ads from local retailers. This is not just today’s papers, it has been the same almost everyday, last week.

The advertisements all look alike. Lots of different models with an alphabet soup alongside indicating the model name, price and an EMI value. A contest scheme with a car or a gold bar as the big price is the inducement.  The ads do not have any information that will help the potential buyer to choose either the brand or the model.

In India, the festival season is the season for big purchases. Consumer durable manufacturers step up their advertising and sales promotions budget to seize this opportunity. LCD TVs seem to be the focus for most of the big consumer durable companies’ this season.

LCD TVs have reached a point where it is ready for take off. The debate between LCD vs plasma has been clearly won by LCD TVs in India. A combination of price , lower energy consumption and no visible difference in the picture is being cited as some of the reasons in favour of LCD. With 30 % decline in prices year on year, the LCD TV prices have clearly reached the price point within reach of the value conscious middle-class buyer. 

In addition, the DTH market has made sufficient inroads in the urban markets. Already, the DTH market has reached 22 million as of March 2010. All the DTH providers have launched High Definition (HD) service along with Digital Video recorder ( DVR) capability. A few channels like Nat Geo, Star Plus have begun HD transmissions in India. The FIFA 2010 was a HD transmission. The real value of HD transmission can be only observed in flat panel TVs like LCD or Plasma.

All these points to a boom in LCD TVs. Between 2008 and 2009, the market grew 10 times from 438,000 units to 4.5 million units. In 2010 it is expected to grow another 80 to 100 %. By 2012 , 23 million Indians are expected to own LCD TVs, as per a ORG-GfK survey.

In India, each decade is marked by a popular model and trend. The ’80s was the decade of the 51 cm Black and White TV sets. In the ’80s government decided to set up one transmitter every day and TV moved beyond the metros. Parallely, Doordarshan started improving the content with the introduction of soap operas like Hum Log, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi etc.

Although colour TV came in to India during Asiad in 1982, it reached critical volumes only in the ’90s. Launch of DD Metro and Satellite televison happened in the ’90s. The most popular TV set sold was a 20″ colour TV with a curved CRT, with or without remote. Indian brands like BPL, Videocon and Onida ruled the roost.

The first decade of the 20th century was just a subtle shift. Flat picture tubes with 100s of channels,( therefore remote was a standard ), became popular. Indian brands made way for the foreign brands particularly the Korean ones, LG and Samsung. In content, there was  explosion of satellite channels.

This decade appears to be the decade of the LCD TV, HD transmission through DTH. A note of caution is in order here. With the shortening of technology life cycles, a decade may be too long to make any prediction.

This Diwali present yourself an LCD TV. It is the flavour of the season.

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