Electrical appliance chains expect boost from digital-TV era, World Cup

Corporate April 09, 2014 00:00

By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn
The Na

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Leading retailers of electrical appliances anticipate a big surge in sales of digital-television sets and accessories such as antennas and set-top boxes, driven by two major events - the launch of digital terrestrial TV broadcasting and the Fifa World Cup

Power Mall, the audio-visual and home-appliance unit of The Mall Group, expects overall sales of TV sets to surge by 15-20 per cent this year because of the World Cup and the launch of 24 digital-TV channels.
Many local viewers are expected to replace their non-digital TV sets with new digital ones, or to purchase set-top boxes so that they can enjoy the digital broadcasts on their current equipment.
The sales of TV sets have increased by just 2-3 per cent per annum during the past few years.
Winners of all 24 digital-TV channel licences must broadcast their content in digital format by May 25. 
Jakkrit Keeratichokchaikun, senior vice president of The Mall Group, said there had been no noticeable rise in sales of digital TV sets in the first three months of the year. 
However, sales have picked up significantly since the beginning of this month, as many players started to promote awareness of their digital channels more actively.
“We have seen an upswing in digital-TV sales of about 10 per cent since the beginning of last week, compared with the previous month,” he said.
He pointed out that the price difference between digital and analog TV sets had narrowed, reducing from 15 per cent last year to only 5 per cent currently. This makes it easier for consumers to make the decision to buy a more modern set.
“We have set up a promotional corner for digital TV sets at our Power Mall stores. About 80 per cent of our sales of television sets are from the digital format,” Jakkrit said. But many customers are still confused about the difference between digital and analog sets, he noted.
“What we are trying to do is to coordinate with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to provide information and educate consumers about digital television at our malls,” said the executive.
Sales of TV antennas and set-top boxes at Power Mall outlets have also surged – by 200 per cent since the end of last month.
“We expect that about 15 per cent of overall non-digital TVs available in the market will be replaced with the new digital TV sets, while the rest will be adapted using external set-top boxes,” he said.
Jakkrit said the overall market for electrical appliances was estimated to achieve only single-digit growth this year, with significant declines expected in items such as personal computers and digital cameras. 
Power Mall itself expects overall sales growth of 5 per cent this year.
Meanwhile, Sa-angtip Amornchat, vice president for marketing at PowerBuy – another major retail chain – said the proportion of digital TV sets available at its stores had increased significantly, from 38 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year to about 75 per cent now. 
PowerBuy started to educate its customers about digital TV sets in the second quarter of last year via its website and leaflets, she explained. Then, in the third quarter, major suppliers started to import the new models and displayed them in stores. 
All major players – such as Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic – launched proactive advertising and promotional campaigns to promote awareness of their digital sets, she added.
“There are currently 116 different models of digital TV sets allocated for sale by our suppliers at PowerBuy. Meanwhile, the number of non-digital TV sets has declined significantly, to only 39 models currently,” Sa-angtip said.
GFK, which provides retail sales tracking information, believes the overall Thai market for TV sets will likely expand by 10 per cent in unit sales this year, and by 2 per cent in value. 
PowerBuy, however, expects the value of its sales of TV sets to increase by 10-15 per cent during the course of the year.