Following an online survey last month indicating that less than one-third of the Japanese – historically a tech-obsessed nation – are interested in 3D TVs chiefly deterred by the compulsory 3D glasses, some concrete sales data has come in which more or less confirms the lukewarm attitude among Japanese consumers towards extra-dimensional TV displays.
GfK Marketing Services Japan, a regional division within one of the world’s largest market research organisation, has gathered some point-of-sale (POS) data from Japanese electronics retailers (including larger chains and smaller independents) and distributors over a period of time to give an insight into the market share penetration of 3D TV. Unfortunately it does not look too good for TV manufacturers and content providers who have invested a lot of resources into developing and promoting 3D viewing.
During the week from 2nd to 8th of August, only 2.6% of all televisions with a screen size of 40″ or bigger bought in Japan had 3D capabilities, accounting for 5.9% of all sales of TVs of similar screen size range. 3D TV sales are expected to pick up when national stalwarts Toshiba and Mitsubishi release their 3D HDTV ranges at the end of this month, with Hitachi scheduled to follow later this year.
Given that expensive price tags has frequently been cited by Japanese respondents as a significant obstacle which puts them off buying 3D TVs, some form of drastic price drops may be necessary to encourage 3D TV uptake. Falling prices has certainly been the trend in Japan according to analysis from Nikkei.com, one of the most influential business news publisher in the country.
Panasonic and Sony were the two TV brands seeing the deepest discounts, with 3D TV prices tumbling more than 20% since being launched near the beginning of 2010. However, despite this relatively rapid decline in prices, 3D TVs remain 30% to 50% more expensive compared to HDTV models of similar specifications sans 3D. Addressing this price divide will go a long way towards igniting consumers’ interests in 3D TV.