By James Wells

SYDNEY: The first edition of the HD Benchmark report, compiled by research analyst GfK and CE manufacturer Sony, claims that 55 per cent of the sales in the digital product categories measured are now high definition demonstrating a mass adoption by consumers.

The report, which measures sales in the third quarter of this year (Q3 2006) from July 2006 to September 2006, claims that high definition is single-handedly driving the technology market forward and is exclusively the reason for growth in the consumer electronics industry. The HD Benchmark report tracks purchase and adoption across six product categories: LCD TVs, plasma TVs, set-top-boxes & digital video recorders (DVRs), games consoles, DVD hardware and camcorders.

The report found that in Q3 2005, HD products represented just 28 per cent ($160.6 million) of all sales, but that proportion has now increased to 55 per cent ($422 million).

“The introduction of high definition products continues to accelerate spending in the home entertainment electronics market,” the survey said.

“Total sales (including HD and non-HD models) for the six hardware product categories covered in The Benchmark jumped from $570.1m in Q3 2005 to $768.5m in Q3 2006, a 35 per cent increase. Over that period, HD products’ sales values increased by 163 per cent, whilst non-HD product sales values decreased by 15 per cent.”

The report found that in Q3 2006, for the first time, sales of both LCD and Plasma TVs were more likely to be HD models than non-HD with 69.4 per cent of all LCD TVs sold were HD, as were 51 per cent of all Plasma TVs.
HD set top box/PVR sales now represent one-third (33.8 per cent) of total category sales, up from 29 per cent in the previous quarter.

High definition games hardware sales dropped markedly as a proportion of category sales – down from 19.9% in Q2 to 12.4 per cent this quarter.

“Consumers have been less enthusiastic thus far about high definition versions of DVD hardware and camcorders,” the report said.

“Just 2.8 per cent of DVD sales and 1.4 per cent of camcorder sales in Q3 2006 were for HD models. However, the DVD figure is up from 0.6 per cent in Q2 so there are signs this category may be about to take off, particularly with the Q4 release of movies on HD formats,” the report said.

“In terms of sales values the proportionate share of HD models is even higher –accounting for 85 per cent of LCD TV sales, 64.6 per cent of Plasma TV sales and 60.9% of STB/PVR sales. HD Games consoles commanded 30.3 per cent of the total sales value in the category, despite unit sales of HD games consoles representing just 12.4 per cent of unit sales for the category. This is a clear indication of the large divergence of average unit price in this category in Q3.”