World Cup spurs Southeast Asia flat panel TV boom
Joseph O'Halloran
Retail sales tracking by leading global market research company GfK has revealed that more TV sets were being sold in every single market across Southeast Asia region in the month prior to the World Cup in Brazil.

The analyst said that every four years the football tournament gives a timely kick to high-end TV sales, and 2014 was no exception with nearly 4.7 million sets of flat panel TV sold across in first five months of 2014.

GfK found that in May 2014 demand surged significantly, by 15% more than the average sales volume achieved in the non-peak months of February, March and April for all markets in the range of 4-31%. Thailand showed the greatest spike, followed by 19% in Vietnam and 16% in Singapore. The analyst said it was notable that the 232,000 TV sets snapped up in Thailand in May was the highest monthly sales achieved by the market in 2014 so far. The retail audit of TV sales for May 2014 also reported nearly 957,000 units sold for the combined markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

This boom came as overall TV sales in the region slowed down after several years of rapid growth in developing markets where large number of households were upgrading to flat panel TV from the traditional CRT. With the near completion of the switchover, GfK observed, consumers are now focusing on new features and technology, as well as bigger screen sizes instead. Connected TVs were found to be gaining share in the region accounting for 17% of all volume sales in 2014 an increase of 5%, and there was optimism for 4K/UltraHD.

"We expect the UltraHD models to be the next focus of the more affluent consumers who are looking to get their hands on the latest TV technology as prices become more affordable with more brands and models being launched in the market," commented GfK account director for digital world Gerard Tan. "Events such as the World Cup has created more awareness for larger screen sizes and more advanced models, which will help drive the market in 2014 — expected to remain an exciting year for TV," he concluded.