Panasonic Corp, the world’s largest maker of plasma televisions, expects to beat its full-year TV sales target, helped by sales in the Japanese market, Panasonic president Fumio Ohtsubo said.
TV sales in the year ending March 31 are poised to exceed the 21 million sets the company had anticipated, Ohtsubo said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. The Japanese government’s “eco-point” incentives for purchases of energy-saving electronics boosted sales in Japan, its biggest market, while demand in the US has been in line with the company’s expectations, he said.
Japanese consumers rushed to buy TVs before the government scaled back incentives for energy-efficient TVs and appliances this month. Shipments of flat-panel sets in Japan jumped fivefold last month from a year earlier, according to electronics-research firm BCN Inc in Tokyo.
“Panasonic benefited a lot from the subsidies as Japan accounts a large portion of its sales,” said Nobuo Kurahashi, an analyst at Mizuho Financial Group Inc “But it’s inevitable sales in Japan will decrease next year and Panasonic will have to compensate the decline with revenue from developing countries or Europe and the US.”
The company expects year-end revenue of audio and visual products in Europe and the US to increase by 1 percent to 2 percent, Ohtsubo said.
The US TV market “lacks forcefulness, but sales there haven’t gone down below our estimate.”
Panasonic, the first major TV maker to sell 3D sets in the US, has said it’s aiming to boost TV sales 33 percent to 21 million sets this fiscal year, including 1 million 3D models.
For 3D, meeting the target will be “difficult” because of the scarcity of content, the executive said.
Panasonic plans to release more Internet-enabled TVs to boost demand, he said.
Panasonic expects a stronger yen will continue eroding its earnings next year, Ohtsubo said.