If you’ve been questioning if 3D really is doing better or if it’s on its way out, we may have a little something interesting for you to feast your eyes on.
Unit sales of 3DTVs in the first quarter (ended March 31) increased 74% while revenue rose 64% compared with the same period last year, according to new data from The NPD Group. 3DTVs accounted for 11% of all flat-panel TV sales in Q1, nearly double that of last year, and 22% of all 40-plus-inch sets sold were 3D.
While 3DTV sales increase due to wider consumer awareness, just 14% of consumers interested in buying a flat-panel TV in the next six months said 3D was a “must have” feature, according to a survey. Another 68% said 3D was “a nice feature” to have for the future. Many consumers who try 3D rate it positively with nearly 70% saying they were “impressed” or “amazed” by an in-store 3D demo.
“3D has been a success for the television market from a sales perspective,” said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “However, few consumers cite watching content in 3D as a reason for purchasing a TV, indicating that other factors such as screen size, resolution and Internet connectivity hold more importance.”
Indeed, wearing 3D glasses, the cost of sets and accessories, and access to content remain barriers to adoption. While 3D sets have become more affordable since entering the market (average prices in April 2012 were 33% lower, compared with April 2010), glasses-free 3DTVs have yet to enter the market, likely deterring the 80% of consumers who consider 3D glasses a drawback to owning the technology.
Content availability as an adoption inhibitor is waning. Among consumers not interested in 3DTV, 14% said content availability is a purchase inhibitor, down from 21% in May 2011.
“In addition to movies and gaming, sports are essential to growing 3DTV ownership,” Arnold said. “Nearly [60%] sports fans are interested in watching games and matches in 3D.”
The summer Olympics in London and the Euro 2012 soccer tournament are considered key drivers of 3DTV this year, according to NPD.
“Our research suggests ownership of 3DTV doesn’t necessarily mean consumers have adopted the technology,” he said. “Getting owners to put on glasses and watch content is the real measure of 3D’s success.”
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