6 July 2012
Tech trendy German consumers
|TV is the natural online channel. (Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/scanrail)|
The connection is set to be a virtuous circle for TV and online sellers.
Sales of web-enabled TV sets are expected to rise 36% compared to 2011, which means that about 10 million TV sets will be bought this year. In fact, almost every second TV set (46%) will be a connected one.
The second largest market in the EU is expected to be the UK with about 2.9 million sold.
Currently every sixth German household owns a TV set which can also access the Internet and German high tech association BITKOM expects that by the end of 2012 about 22% of all German households will have a web-enabled TV.
The number of such TV sets for sale in Europe this year is set to hit 19.1 million, a rise of about 68%, according to the European Information Technology Observatory (EITO).
BITKOM's experts see Internet access for large-format flat screen TV sets becoming a standard feature.
Consumers are pleasantly surprised by the relatively low prices. The average cost for connected TV sets in 2012 is Euros766, which is almost 17% less than last year.
In addition, the new devices are usually equipped with much better features than in the past. The reason is the sharp competition among manufacturers and distributors.
Over 50% of all owners of a connected TV set hook up their TVs so they can watch films and videos independent of the actually broadcast networks.
The new standard Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV, which is a major new pan-European initiative aimed at harmonising the broadcast and broadband delivery, allows the consumer to access new services from entertainment providers such as broadcasters and online providers.
So, video on demand (VoD), interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games and social networks, as well as programme-related services such as digital text and electronic programme guides, will all be available.
Very much in demand these days are also TV apps. As with smart-phones, these limited application programmes allow the user to profit from video telephony or check meteorological services online.
The surge is closely associated with large-scale sports events such as the Summer Olympic Games or the European Soccer Championship, as well as the fact that analogue satellite transmission was switched off in Germany at the end of April.
Online shops get ahead
Another essential use of the TV could well become shopping, since the online share of the Internet for merchandise sales has almost doubled over five years.
A survey conducted by GfK and commissioned by BITKOM, showed that only 12% of total expenditure on computers, TV sets, mobile phones and white goods like washing machines and vacuum cleaners was spent through online purchases back in 2007.
But slicker online shopping sites, better selection of goods and safer payment methods have boosted the online advantage.
The study shows that online sales of PC notebooks alone stand at 37%, an increase of six percentage points compared to last year. In the case of smart-phones the online turnover share has now reached 33%, for MP3 players 31% and for digital cameras 25%.
Some 21% of all vacuum cleaners and 19% of all washing machines are sold via online shops.
Given such figures, the largest physical retailers Saturn and Media Markt have now entered the online business. The two subsidiaries of the Metro Group opened up their individual online shops and now compete against well-established online platforms, such as Amazon and Ebay.
from Elisabeth Steinacher, Frankfurt Office
|BITKOM||Tel: (49) 30-2757-6-0
Fax: (49) 30-2757-6-400
|European Information Technology Observatory (EITO)||Tel: (49) 30-944002-60
Fax: (49) 30-944002-49
|GfK||Tel: (49) 911-395-4440
Fax: (49) 911-395-4041
|Metro Group||Web: http://www.metrogroup.de,