Surprise! HDTV Sales Slump as Economy Tanks

Unless you've been living under a rock, (and these days, that might be the only housing you can afford) you might have noticed that the economy ain't doing great. As a result, analysts are reporting a slowdown of HDTV sales. Ya think?

A report in the Wall Street Journal indicated that electronics spending fell by 14% year-over-year in September. "It's not a coincidence that signs of a real turn in HD sales date to the middle of September, when the story of the stalling economy jumped from the business page to the front page with the collapse of Lehman Brothers," said Mr. Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "Consumers are justifiably scared and the widescreen TV is among the most discretionary of purchases."

Will this ripple through the industy?

Well, of course. As HDTV sales drop, DirecTV could suffer, as fewer viewers will order their HD packages.  "Given the economic circumstances, the next leg of customers may be slower to adopt HD services," said Thomas Eagan, an analyst at Collins Stewart.

Is there anything positive about the current situation? Cable companies are pretty happy. If people are content with SD, their lack of HD offerings aren't a problem. Plus, more and more folks can't afford to go out, so they're spending more time at home, watching TV.

It's pretty obvious that if people can't afford to fill their cars, pay their electric bills, or put food on the table, luxuries like HDTVs are going to be the first to go. Guess the analysts are just trying to stay employed too. -Leslie Shapiro

The Wall Street Journal

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