Thu, Jan 20, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Survey gives a clear picture about new TVs and consumers

By Shen Ru-kang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A 102-inch plasma display panel flat television screen of South Korea's Samsung SDI is shown next to a 42-inch flat screen, in Seoul.

PHOTO: AFP

Many people will soon receive their year-end bonuses, if they haven't already, and perhaps the most rational thing to do with it is blow it all on something indulgent. If they were thinking of going for a new LCD TV, or even Plasma TV -- which could certainly be put to good use over the Chinese New Year break -- they would not be alone.

A joint survey conducted by the Market Intelligence Center (MIC) (資策會資訊市場情報中心) and Synovate (思緯資訊公司) on market development trends for these two products has revealed some interesting facts and figures. If you are currently inclined to buy one of the latest TVs for yourself, why not first check out what is going through the heads of like-minded people?

Why Buy?

The survey shows that the primary motivations for buying a new LCD or plasma TV are picture clarity and high resolution (32 percent for LCD TVs, and 31 percent for plasma TVs), followed by space-saving advantages (31 percent for LCD TVs and 24 percent for plasma TVs).

According to MIC analyst Wang Sheng-hung (王勝宏), flat-screen LCD TVs have higher resolution than traditional CRT screens, and higher resolution means enhanced picture quality. Also, since many Taiwanese live in relatively small apartments, size does matter, and the less space it takes up, the better.

Who to Ask?

Fifty-five percent of respondents got most of their information on the products from sales staff, compared to 12 percent from the Internet, 10 percent from friends, 7 percent from catalogs and 6 percent from exhibitions. Only 5 percent relied on ads placed in magazines and newspapers.

Wang pointed out that consumers are aware of what they want, and considering the price of these products they were not shy about asking questions from sales staff to seek out expert opinions. The Internet was the second choice but far behind using sales staff as a resource, and TV ads hardly got a look-in.

Aiders and Abettors?

When asked whether they first solicited advice from their family and friends before taking the plunge, 77 percent of respondents said yes. By far the most -- 50 percent -- asked their spouses, and 14 percent went to their parents, 7 percent sought their kids' advice, 6 percent asked their brothers or sisters, and only 1 percent looked to their boyfriend or girlfriend.

This is quite significant, as it challenges the stereotype that it is always the man of the house who decides what consumer electronic equipment is to be bought.

How Much to Pay?

The survey included a question on what consumers thought was a reasonable price to pay. The question specified a 30-inch LCD TV and a 42-inch plasma TV.

For the LCD TV, 38 percent of respondents wanted to pay under NT$30,000, whereas 21 percent were willing to dish out between NT$30,000 to NT$40,000. Another 21 percent were happy to pay between NT$40,000 to 50,000, 12 percent thought anywhere between NT$50,000 and NT$70,000 was a fair price, and 5 percent believed that the NT$70,000 to NT$100,000 range was reasonable. Only 1 percent of respondents thought that over NT$100,000 was warranted.

As for the plasma TV, 47 percent wanted to pay between NT$70,000 and NT$100,000, and 33 percent would go over NT$100,000. However, 9 percent preferred the NT$50,000 to NT$70,000 price range, 7 percent thought between NT$30,000 and NT$40,000 was reasonable, and 4 percent actually thought a better price would be something like NT$40,000 to NT$50,000.

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