Stock shortages and timing have hurt panel sales during World Cup

By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC & SYDNEY, NSW: Although the 2010 World Cup has improved panel sales at a retail level, the increase has not been as dramatic or as significant as other major sporting events, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to both a leading retailer and a major supplier.

Speaking to Current.com.au last night, JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart said that whilst there was a noticeable bump in the lead-up to, and the early stages of, the 2010 World Cup, stock shortages prevented this push from becoming truly substantial.

“Definitely in those first few weeks in June, in the lead-up to the Cup, we saw the demand for visual increase,” Smart said.

When asked specifically about 3D, Smart raised the issue of stock shortages, which is largely attributed to only Samsung being in the market during the build-up to the Cup.

“We saw across the board a general increase in panels: 3D – while it’s gaining traction and has been received well – is very limited. Back then, the only panels you could get were Samsung panels, and even those we were getting in very limited stock.”

Smart conceded lack of stock did result in lost sales, though he tempered this by saying that because 3D is still in its infancy, it will make a resurgence, especially now that consumers are beginning to realise that the technology is not a novelty, but rather the future of television.

“I have no doubt we’ve lost some opportunities for sales, just with the lack of stock that’s coming through, but I still feel it’s in its infancy, and especially when you go back to the early part of June, there was only Samsung out there, but as of today, most of the other majors are starting to launch and we’re starting to see stock in stores.”

A senior figure at one of the major TV suppliers agreed with Smart’s analysis. He said that whilst there have been improved sales, the timezone difficulties of the World Cup meant that the boost wasn’t as significant as the last major sporting event, the 2008 Olympics, which were contested during prime time in Australia.

Furthermore, because sales this year are being measured against 2009 – a unique year combining historically low interest rates and former PM Kevin Rudd’s cash handouts – the sales jump cannot be considered enormous.

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