Lessons from the 4-day Shopping Weekend
Did you notice how few Sony TVs were featured in Web sites,
newspaper insets or display shelves over the four-day November
shopping weekend, previously known as the Thanksgiving
weekend? Samsung dominated the spaces, followed closely by LG.
Other featured TV sets came from Toshiba, Sharp (especially
for its very large 60+-inch sets) and Panasonic.
Chinese brands were also featured much more than last year,
another story that’s under-reported. Walmart showed a lot of
TV sets from Vizio, which is practically Walmart’s house brand
much as Insignia-brand sets are at Best Buy.
The other noticeable trends are the continued downward trend
in pricing for all sizes of TV sets and the continued
evolution to smart TV sets. It may not be a trend, yet, but in
the visits we made to Best Buy, Walmart and Sam’s Club we saw
more people in the TV set sections (not unexpected at this
time of the year) and the Apple section (there were no Windows
8 Surface tablets at Best Buy to distract) than were in the PC
section. PCs just don’t have the glamour and allure they once
did, even with the new Windows 8.
Back to Sony, whose electronics division evidently has
lackluster sales people, lackluster TV sets or lackluster
promotional and pricing programs. The 50+ generation grew up
in an era when Sony reigned so supreme that most all of the
other makers of TV sets were considered second rate. But, not
Sony and Panasonic both now have junk bond status.
The Fitch corporate bond rating company has downgraded Sony
three notches to BB minus. It also downgraded Panasonic by two
notches to BB but said that Panasonic had a better chance of
pulling out of its slump than Sony because Panasonic has an
appliance line of washing machines and refrigerators that is
stable and generating positive margins. Saved by the washing
Sharp, which makes highly acclaimed large TVs and displays for
tablets and smartphones, has been saved, at least temporarily,
by a $4.6 billion bail-out from some Japanese banks.
How the mighty have fallen!