High supply + low demand = good deals
TV sales are always among the hottest items every year around Black Friday time, but this year may bring about the best sales ever as prices are expected to fall by as much as 12% over 2009.
That's a historic decrease in the price of TVs on a year-to-year scale. And it's because of a huge oversupply of LCD TV sets on the market. Giving even more of a punch to the holiday shopping season, this extra volume is expected to come to a head in November.
This means that not only will Black Friday TV prices be substantially lower than they were last year - they'll be substantially lower than they are now, even online.
Just how low will the prices be? Research firm iSuppli predicts you'll be able to find a 32-inch flat-panel LCD TV for as low as $199. That's almost 50% off what you could expect to pay for the same kind of TV if you walked into Best Buy today. That level of markdown in a two-month span is unheard of, even for Black Friday.
This, according to iSuppli, is contributed to a crazily high amount of LCD TVs that were shipped this year, far in excess of actual demand. Yet manufacturers were reluctant to reduce prices, until now.
"Only recently did they come to the shocking realization that prices needed to fall. That will have a good impact on holiday sales," said Paul Gagnon, head researcher at industry tracking firm DisplaySearch.
All LCD TVs will be deeply discounted on Black Friday as always, including large-screen sizes as well as HDTVs. However, what remains to be seen is how aggressive these cuts will be on 3D TVs, which are at the top end of the market and are not necessarily ready to be slashed for holiday sales. It's still a very new market and all the early adopters willing to pay full price haven't necessarily stepped forward yet.
Nevertheless, among all Black Friday items this year, TVs will be the category to keep the closest eye on.