Ever feel like some days you wake up and come to the realization that the world is vastly different than the one you lived in the year before? I’m not talking about a Pandemic-level instantaneous change, but a more subtle, gradual shift happening around you that becomes apparent very suddenly.
Yeah, well that’s the nagging feeling I’ve been getting at trade shows for the past few months, but haven’t been able to put a finger on. However, just today while reading a new report from Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group, I figured out what was eating at me. We have officially broken out of “the post-pandemic” market.
Since lockdowns ended and quarantine restrictions were eased, the retail market for consumer electronics has experienced a distinct hangover cycle. The pandemic-fueled boom in consumer goods led to many Americans upgrading their devices more rapidly than is typical for the market.
According to a recently released “TV Ownership Trends Report” from Circana, the typical age of an installed TV in the U.S. dropped to just 5 years in 2020. While that number is currently back up to 5.2 years, research from Circana suggests that the average TV is 6.6 years old when it’s replaced.
Here’s the good news for the market. The same report found that 25.5 percent of TVs in use in the country are at least seven years old – the largest percentage since February 2020.
“The aging installed TV base is a positive indicator for TV manufacturers and retailers because consumers who purchased TVs earlier in the pandemic will soon be ready to replace them,” said John Buffone, vice president and industry advisor at Circana.
This aging TV base will provide a massive opportunity for retailers over the coming year.
“Almost all U.S. households own at least one TV, and the average household owns more than two,” said Paul Gagnon, vice president and industry advisor at Circana. “The demand cycle was disrupted by the pandemic, but we expect to return to the typical refresh rate by 2024. Once economic conditions improve, there is potential for two to three million additional TV unit sales.”
The market is correcting and you better be ready to step up when your number is called, but don’t just take my word for it. At Nationwide’s recent PrimeTime event in Dallas, CEO Tom Hickman told attendees in his opening address: “It feels to me a lot like 2018 and 2019. We’re doing things very similar to the way we were doing it then, battling for customers, battling for eyeballs, and making sure we’re trying to close every sale.”