Consumers are snapping up high-tech television sets that let them surf the Internet, stream movies or watch programmes in 3D - bucking the trend of falling sales of television sets in general, a new survey has found.
It found that Internet-enabled television sets comprised 56.3 per cent of all sets sold between January and May, up from 43.4 per cent in the same period last year.
More than 75,500 such television sets were sold during the first five months of this year, outstripping that of the same period last year by more than 1,200 sets.
Television sets that allow 3D viewing are increasingly popular as well, accounting for 26.2 per cent of sales in the five-month period, compared with 19.4 per cent last year, said research firm GfK last week.
Mr Gerard Tan, a GfK account director, noted that high-tech TVs have become more popular because leading brands are offering consumers an increasing number of models.
TVs have become more affordable too, said Mr Angelo Augustus, the managing director of electronics retailer Harvey Norman. Smart TV prices have generally dropped by 10 to 20 per cent this year from last year, he noted.
Smart TV sets are also slimmer and lighter and have better picture quality, he added.
Screen size is a key factor with buyers, according to GfK, which assessed sales data from major electronics retailers.
Sets with screens from 60 to 69 inches doubled their market share in the first five months of this year, while 32-inch TVs - the most popular size - accounted for 28.9 per cent of sales, down from 33.4 per cent last year.
Mr Vernon Wee, a chief operating officer at a maritime security company, bought a 52-inch Internet-enabled 3D set in May.
The self-confessed techie prefers watching downloaded movies on his new TV instead of his 21-inch iMac computer because the experience is different.
"It's not worth it to buy a normal TV now. The price difference (between a smart TV and normal one) is not that much, just a few hundred dollars," he added.
"It's also difficult to find a normal one. Most stores are selling the latest models."
A standard 42-inch TV at Harvey Norman is $100 cheaper than a smart one, while sets measuring 55 inches and above now tend to come only in the smart version.
Regional sales manager See Mun Thean bought a 55-inch smart TV in May so his family can "have a good TV set". "On top of that, I also wanted to watch the World Cup," he added.
He was not alone in splurging on a new TV to catch football action. Sales surged 16 per cent in May over the average monthly sales in February, March and April as viewers prepared for the kick-off in Brazil.
But overall TV sales have been steadily falling since demand peaked in 2011, when households upgraded from traditional cathode ray tube sets to flat-screen ones.
The number of television sets sold in the first five months of this year dropped by 39 per cent from the number sold during the same period in 2011.
The market has since become more saturated, said GfK, noting that consumers are now more discerning.
Mr Tan added: "We expect the UHD (ultra high-definition) models to be the next focus of the more affluent consumers... as TVs become more affordable with more brands and models being launched in the market."
This article was first published on July 16, 2014.
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