Plasma TV market share plummeted over the holiday season according to Reevoo.com’s analysis of data from 60 of the top UK online electrical retailers. The data reveals that plasma’s market share more than halved in 2 months, from 22% in October to 8% in December.
Two reasons account for plasma’s diminishing market share, according to Reevoo.com analysis:
Firstly, flat screen TVs are now almost ubiquitous in sitting rooms in British homes, meaning that shoppers are more likely to be purchasing smaller second TVs for the kitchen or bedroom. Falling consumer spending on non-essentials is also having an impact, with shoppers choosing smaller, cheaper LCD TVs rather than large plasma screens. Over Christmas Reevoo.com tracked a boost in popularity for LCD TVs with screens smaller than 26”. This category’s share of the market more than doubled between September and December, going from 15% to become the largest TV category with 35% of the market in December.
Secondly, customers are reporting increased satisfaction with LCD TVs. LCD has finally caught up with plasma picture quality, according to reviews from genuine purchasers collected by Reevoo.com. Long the favourite of AV aficionados, plasma has held a consistently higher rating for image quality throughout 2008. But LCD has been closing the gap and in January 2009 the gap became almost non-existent, with the average LCD and plasma screen both being rated 8.9/10 in 5,708 genuine customer reviews collected by Reevoo.
Sam Bostock, category manager for televisions at Reevoo.com said: “This shift to LCD is inevitable given the relative flexibility in the production process. LCD panels now exist in a huge range of electrical products and with that versatility they were always likely to out-do plasma.”
“Shoppers shouldn’t mourn the passing of plasma though”, Sam Bostock added. “Customer reviews prove that LCDs perform just as well as plasmas, and the great thing is they’re more environmentally friendly too.”
LCD’s popularity is mainly due to their lower average price, but contrary to popular opinion plasma screens are not more expensive on a like-for-like basis. For the same screen size, Reevoo has found that the cost to a shopper of an LCD and a plasma TV is virtually the same, with the cost of 42” plasma averaging 525 in 2008, 22 cheaper than an equivalently-sized LCD TV.
Plasma is suffering because LCD screens can be produced in a wide range of screen sizes, from 2” in mobile phones in 55” TVs. Plasma manufacture is viable only at sizes above 32”, meaning that many television manufacturers are choosing to concentrate on LCD screens, which can produce all the common TV sizes and which are seen as the future of TV screen technology.
Several improvements are expected to cement plasma’s decline in 2009. LCD screens with LED backlighting have met with a glowing reception from critics, and the widely-praised OLED technology will be appearing in standard sized televisions before the end of the end of the year.
A permanent switch to LCD will please energy-conscious shoppers too. Plasma screens require more energy to produce the same brightness as an LCD. According to Which? a plasma screen uses 50% more electricity than an LCD TV, meaning shoppers can save 38 per year by switching to LCD from plasma.
 data from www.sust-it.net based on median 40” LCD and 42” plasma TVs.