Are consumers ready for 8K TV?
4K TV (UHD) is now the standard TV resolution offer for large screen TVs. However, no sooner have consumers begun to adopt this technology, when suddenly all the noise and marketing is about 8K TV. But are consumers ready for it?
Is 8K TV selling?
Latest tracking from Kantar’s Worldpanel ComTech shows that 8K currently only accounts 0.4% of TV’s owned in EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) which is not surprising given the availability and the price.
Piers Moore, Global Insight Director at Worldpanel division, Kantar said: “We forecast 8K ownership to be no more than 1% by the end of the year. However, strategically 8K is not about driving volume – it is to drive value and excitement in the category, with the hope of creating a halo affect within the super-premium end of the market”.
Why consumers will be slow to adopt 8KTV
1. 4K TVs are still building share
Whilst consumers are adopting 4K TV we are still not all watching 4K content as even 4K content is not widely available. Upscaling technology is being used to adapt HD content into 4K content, so the suggestion of 8K TV upscaling is almost a step too far. How do manufacturers communicate the benefits of 8K to customers and why it is worth the extra cost compared to 4K? Piers Moore comments: “Only 10% of TV’s owned across Europe are 4K and most consumers have only just become comfortable with what 4K is. To then try to get them to buy into 8K will be even harder.”
8K technology means that TV manufacturers can make TVs larger without losing picture quality. Kantar shows that in Q1 2019 nearly 5% of all TV’s owned were 60” or larger which is 2ppts more compared to Q1 2018. So, while consumers are moving towards larger TVs, it does feel like we are heading towards a ceiling on what works for most consumers living space.
2. Lack of 8K TV content
Just because you have an 8K TV it doesn’t mean that everything you watch is in 8K. 8K TV content needs to be created, and there is currently a huge content gap. With hardly any 8K TV content available, why would consumers buy an 8K TV as they won’t immediately see all the benefits? This is a challenge for marketing to potential customers.
However, upscaling technology can help to improve lower resolution pictures in an 8K environment. Despite 8K content not being readily available at the moment, upscaling does make the 4K content look sharper on 8K TVs. Piers Moore adds: “Customers who are buying 8K TVs are the most premium purchasers. If they are buying the most premium TV then they feel it is worth purchasing 8K compared to 4K, so when 8K content is available they will not have to purchase again, in essence future-proofing themselves”.
Interestingly Sony is potentially in a strong position because of access to Sony Pictures so there is more scope to develop specific 8K content, although generally we can predict that Amazon and Netflix will probably be primary content providers for 8K TV.
3. Pricing of 8K TV
The Samsung Q900R was available to purchase in Europe as of October 2018 and released an improved second generation Q950R earlier this year. The Samsung 65” QLED Q905R is currently the lowest priced 8K TV on the market with a retail price of £4,999.
Sony Europe started selling its first 8K TV’s (ZG9 series) this month. Sony’s lowest price 8K offering is the 85” ZG9 which currently retails at a whopping £13,999.
LG has announced its first OLED 8K (88Z9) TV will be available to buy in Europe during Q3 2019. Price expectations are even higher for the LG OLED 88” when it comes to market in Q3 this year.
At these price points it is potentially removed as an option for mass consumption purely on price and, therefore, high sales volume cannot be the strategic objective for 8K TV.
So, why launch 8K TV?
In a nutshell it is about showcasing innovation and technological leadership. 8K is the latest technology TV manufactures are pushing as they looking to prove to customers that they can deliver the latest innovation in resolution.
Piers Moore continues: “The reason it is important for TV manufactures to get out ‘in-front’ of the competition with new technology such as 8K is that it helps them to be seen as the brand that offers the latest innovations from a customer’s point of view. This plays a crucial role in getting consumers to spend more and helps convert potential premium customers into sales – it was cited as the second most important reason more premium customers bought a brand of TV in Q1 2019.”
8K TV will appeal to affluent early adopters. Experience tells us that early technology adopters can be very influential and drive wider adoption, so developing technology for this group is key for long-term brand success.
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