Laos makes the transition to flat screen TVs

Louise Duffy | 19-11-2012

Consumers in Laos, one of the lesser developed TV markets in south east Asia, are slowly but surely making the transition from buying traditional CRT TVs to flat panel TVs.

According to analyst firm GfK, TV sales in capital city Vientiane for the third quarter of this year saw a 20% increase in overall share of the flat panel TV segment from the 47% reported in the previous quarter.

In 2012, GfK starting retail tracking of TV sales in Vientiane, which accounts for around 60% of the country’s overall TV market. In the six months from April to September, over 11,000 television sets valued at over $2.3 million were sold, with sales of flat panel models alone contributing to nearly 40%, or $588,000.

Wichit Purepong, general manager of GfK Thailand, said: “The TV market in Laos has been largely dominated by CRT TVs until very recent months where our findings revealed higher volume sales of flat panel TVs over CRT TVs in Vientiane, although the overall sales figure is still rather small when compared with other south east Asian countries."

Within the flat panel TV segment which sees a considerable penetration of Chinese brands, basic LCD TVs averaging around $310 made up around 76% of the total retailed sales units. LED TVs, together with plasma TVs, which sold at the average prices of $599 and $571 respectively, made up the rest of the remaining sales volume at an almost equal level.

“Retail sales for flat screen TVs in the country may appear lower than the actual adoption level due to the fact that local consumers may be making their purchases from neighboring countries such as Thailand, where there is a wider product range and prices are generally lower,” explained Purepong.

“Technological penetration and corresponding level of consumer adoption in Laos is one of the least developed among all the south east Asian countries, and this in turn presents a wealth of potential and opportunities, especially for manufacturers who have tried and tested their products in the region.

“If the Laos TV market develops in a similar pattern to Thailand, we can potentially expect to see the market expand significantly and continue to advance in sophistication in the years to come,” he concluded.