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Best Buy Lags in Promoting 3D TV

J.D. Power and Associates announced that according to research contained in its 2010 Television Mystery Shopping Report, the proportion of salespeople who discuss 3D television technology with shoppers at major electronics retailers has increased substantially during the first six months of 2010 but the rates of growth vary widely by retailer.

According to the statement, “the overall increase in discussion of 3D televisions is reflective of changes in the marketplace—manufacturers are continuing to broaden the range of products that incorporate 3D technology, availability of these sets is increasing and prices are decreasing,” said Mike Battaglia, director of operational research at J.D. Power and Associates. “There is wide variability, however, in the frequency with which salespeople at different retailers are mentioning 3D technology.”

For example, while salespeople at PRO Group mentioned 3D TV technology to nearly six in 10 mystery shoppers, on average, during the second quarter of the year, Best Buy salespeople mentioned the topic to fewer than one in four shoppers, on average.

Comparison of 3-D TV Discussion Rates–First and Second Quarters, 2010

Rate of 3-D
HDTV Discussion–

Quarter 1
Margin of error Rate of 3-D

Discussion–Quarter 2
Margin of error Difference
PRO Group 15% 3.6% 59% 4.5% 44
ABC Warehouse 7% 4.8% 35% 9.2% 28
Fry’s 8% 5.2% 36% 9.2% 28
PC Richard & Son 5% 4.3% 31% 8.9% 26
Conn’s 12% 6.3% 37% 9.3% 25
BrandsMart 11% 6.0% 33% 9.0% 22
Ultimate Electronics 16% 7.1% 32% 8.9% 16
hhgregg 17% 4.6% 31% 5.7% 14
Sears 12% 6.3% 23% 8.1% 11
Best Buy 12% 2.7% 22% 3.6% 10

Margin of Error: 90% Confidence Level

“As televisions become increasingly complex with new features, both retailers and manufacturers need to ensure that sales staffs are properly trained to consistently communicate those features and resulting benefits to shoppers,” said Battaglia.

The report also finds that salespeople recommended Samsung televisions to 53% of mystery shoppers during the second quarter of 2010, a decline from 57% during the first quarter of 2010. In contrast, recommendation rates for Panasonic and Sony increased during the same time period. In particular, for screen sizes of 55 inches or larger, recommendation rates for Samsung LED televisions declined from 39% during the first quarter of 2010 to 26% in the second quarter. During the same time period, recommendations of Panasonic plasma TVs increased from 15% to 19%. Recommendation rates for LG and Sony LED and LCD TV sets also increased from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2010.

“For TVs with screen sizes measuring 55 inches or larger—a segment that generates particularly high revenue—Samsung still has the highest recommendation rates,” said Battaglia. “However, manufacturers such as LG and Sony appear to be making headway in gaining share of mind among salespeople.”

The 2010 Television Mystery Shopping Report compiles the findings of more than 1,400 mystery shoppers who shopped at more than 1,200 major electronics retail locations during the first six months of 2010. The research investigates salespersons’ product knowledge and the types of technology and brand recommendations they make to customers.

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