After much speculation on whether the consumers at large would embrace 3D TV technology especially when the lacklustre economic climate and a conspicuous lack of 3D content are taken into account, hard figures are now available for the actual number of units physically purchased by European users. In a survey conducted among 120 electronic retailers in Germany, France and the UK by retail and technology market research firm GfK, European consumers have shelled out their hard-earned cash on at least 25,000 units of 3D-capable flat-screen HDTVs by the end of May 2010.
At first glance, these numbers do not sound too bad when you consider that 3D TVs actually only started hitting store shelves towards the end of April 2010. But when put into context against the 252 million TVs estimated to be sold worldwide by the end of this year, 25,000 is but a drop in the ocean, suggesting that 3D display technology still has a long way to go before achieving mass-market penetration.
Despite these less-than-encouraging figures, HDTV manufacturers are expected to continue spreading the 3D gospel. When presenting their survey results at the firm’s annual Consumer Electronics Conference in Munich, GfK remarked that “almost every notable TV manufacturer” is — or soon will be — offering televisions with 3D capability. So far Samsung, Panasonic and Sony have launched their respective 3DTV sets in the United Kingdom, with LG (and later Toshiba and Philips) to follow shortly.
90% of the retailers who participated in the survey also reported a heightened interest in internet connectivity among potential HDTV buyers. GfK said that as HDTVs continue to push the boundaries and take over the roles of more traditional electronic devices such as laptops and computers in performing tasks like internet browsing and video downloading, it is not surprising to find that TV is indeed the segment that generates the most sales in the consumer electronics arena.