"Centering on flat-panel TVs and video recorders, Japan's domestic market remains strong."

BCN Inc, a Japanese market research company, announced the results of its survey on the trends in the Japanese market for major digital home appliances April 8, 2009. This survey was based on the shop sales data that BCN collects from leading volume electronics retailers in Japan.

Overall digital home appliance sales in Japan saw the year-on-year (YoY) sales decline gradually shrink from 6.8% in December 2008 to 3.2% in January 2009, 2.3% in February and 0.8% in March.

In addition, the average selling price of overall digital home appliances climbed in March after hitting bottom in February 2009, "starting to show slightly bright signs," BCN analyst Ichiro Michikoshi said.

By product, flat-panel TVs and video recorders sold well. As for PCs, sales value continued to fall YoY although unit sales grew.

Flat-panel TV unit sales up; average unit price drops

The flat-panel TV market rapidly recovered since hitting bottom in December 2008, BCN said. Unit sales soared 31.3 and 34.9% YoY in February and March 2009, respectively. Sales value also grew 14.3 and 17.1% YoY.

The key factor behind the sales growth was the lower average unit price (AUP). The AUP of flat-panel TVs fell below ¥100,000 (approx US$1,002) and reached ¥98,000 in March 2009. In the past three years, 30-inch class models posted the largest drop in price with their AUP descending to ¥102,400 in March 2009, almost half the price as of March 2006. Prices of most selling 30- and 40-inch class products are significantly declining, according to BCN.

"The drop in AUP stimulated consumer demand, and the growth in unit sales led to the larger sales value," Michikoshi said. As for the reason why the sales grew sharply in February and March 2009, he said, "It is pobably because consumption, which shrank during the year-end sales season due to factors including the job uncertainty, shifted to February and March."

He also said that the flat-panel TV market has been bolstered by the shift from terrestrial analog broadcasting to terrestrial digital broadcasting in 2011, as well as the provision of fixed sum benefits to all residents in Japan.

By screen size, large models are rapidly increasing. In March 2009, 20-inch class models accounted for 32.6% of all flat-panel TVs, 2.2 points less than a year ago. Sales of small models usually rise due to seasonal factors (many young people start living on their own) in March, but an increasing number of people are now choosing 30-inch class models, according to BCN. In March 2009, 30-inch class models constituted 37.0%, 0.6 points more than in the preceding year.

Video recorder sales rise 30%

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