TV Price Guide for 2013-2014

Could the Future Hold Inflation?

Spring 2013

Conventional wisdom is usually right... until it's completely wrong. House prices from 2003 - 2006 for example. Technology stocks in 1999 and early 2000 as another. Ask anyone if TV prices are going up or down and they will almost always reply with, "Down of course, they are dropping." You might be surprised to know that this mass sentiment is no longer true. Prices are increasing in some sizes and technologies while decreasing in others.

Plasma Pricing 2013 and 2014

For example, plasma TV pricing stabilized and stopped decreasing in 2011 - especially in the 50" and lower size ranges. For 2012 we see the same thing occurring. Following is some example pricing:

Samsung PN59D8000 59” top of the line plasma cost $2249 at Best Buy in summer of 2011. The replacement for this TV - the PN60E8000 - was $2597 in April of 2012 and is now $1900. The replacement PN60F8500 will be more expensive.

3rd Tier Panasonic Plasma

  • Panasonic TC-P50ST30 50” DOP 11/11/2011 $917 Best Buy
  • Panasonic TC-P50ST50 DOP 04/14/2012 $1257 Best Buy
  • Panasonic TC-P50ST50 DOP 01/30 2013 $1399 Sears

We project an average price for the Panasonic TC-P50ST60 50” Plasma 2013 model of $1299. Furthermore, we believe prices have stabilized in this size and are slightly increasing.

2nd Tier Panasonic Plasma

  • Panasonic TC-P50G25 50” Plasma DOP 12/29/10 - $1119 HH Gregg
  • Panasonic TC-P50GT50 50” Plasma DOP 12/13/12 - $1139 Best
  • Panasonic TC-P50GT50 50" Plasma DOP 02/05/13 - $1359 Beach Camera

No decreases here either – prices flat to up. We expect the replacement TC-P50VT60 (no GT for 2013) to be $1399 - $1450.

Plasma TV Price Predictions for 2013 and 2014

  • The 65 inch size has the most room to decrease and we expect prices in this very large size plasma to decline between 10% and 15% for 2013 and beyond.
  • The 60 inch size has stabilized from 2012 around $1500 - $1650 for a good 2nd or 3rd tier top brand plasma and will stay around that level
  • The 55 inch plasma size will stay flat at around $1599 for a good 2nd or 3rd tier model from a top brand like Samsung or Panasonic.
  • The 50 inch plasma size will see no reduction in price staying flat to up.

For a detailed breakdown LED TV prices, visit the LED TV Price Guide

Growth Minded Blobheads and Money Printers

But why? Why would prices suddenly be leveling or even increasing. I can offer several explanations. For one, the industry manufacturers have been stuck on high growth ambitions for years seeking 20% year over year growth in units. Growth numbers are nearly always stated in units rather than dollars. Once it occurs to these TV market sages that a maturing market may fetch even or higher prices for a few more technological advancements, they may raise prices.

Money printing by the US Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world is also an issue. The Fed states outright that it seeks inflation. This printing of money will result in higher labor costs abroad in Asia (where parts are manufactured) and Mexico (where TVs are assembled due to NAFTA). The materials and parts costs that go into producing TVs will also rise, just as industrial metals have been rising.

Slow demand might occasionally cause prices to decrease temporarily. But when inflation hits, watch out. Demand could increase due to inflation. Prices could rise 10% a year. This is what the Federal Reserve seems to be hoping's happened in other places in the world that recklessly debase their currency. Why cant it happen here?

Todays Challenge for Manufacturers and Retailers: Keeping Margins Up with new Technologies

Making money as a TV manufacturer can be tough which brings up the constant challenge of always trying to improve the technology in increments to help keep margins up. Incrementally better technologies are the go-to in this regard. For example, there is always a prevailing “super important” and hyper promoted new feature must-have that manufacturers and retailers persuade consumers with. Following is a recent historical progression of many of the “must-have” latest and greatest features over the past several years:

  • After plasma flat panel came LCD (even though it was not better)
  • Then came 1080p resolution
  • Then thinner depth of the panel
  • LED backlight LCD was next
  • Then higher Hz rate LED (120, 240, 480)
  • Then Smart TV Internet compatibility
  • Then 3D compatibility
  • Wifi was wedged in somewhere
  • Then thinner depth with almost no frame
  • Then bigger/larger screen sizes
  • Then back to better black levels again
  • Voice Recognition and Smart TV Interaction

Now, new technologies on the short horizon include OLED TVs, and 4K TVs and the combination of both which is surely the best looking TV of all. For some more information on the pricing of these technologies, visit the OLED TV and 4K TV Price Guide