Modest TV sales expectations despite digital switch over


The digital switch over is about to hit London, but electrical retailers in the capital have been advised not to expect a flood of sales.

Television viewers in the capital will need to upgrade or convert their television to receive digital signals from Wednesday, when the analogue signal for BBC Two is switched off permanently. The remaining analogue channels are due to be switched off on April 18.

More than one million television sets in the capital are at risk of going blank when the switch over takes place, according to Digital UK, the group in charge of the process.

This figure suggests there is a huge opportunity for London’s electronics retailers to sell new televisions to the 10 per cent of households which are not ready for the switch over.

But Mike Floodgate, deputy chief executive of electrical retailers association Retra, was not confident there would be a significant hike in sales.

“I think that most homes in the UK including those in London had already invested in a flat panel digital TV pre-official switch over dates and the small numbers that have not will probably go for a set top box solution while keeping their existing TV,” said Floodgate.

“There will be some increase in sales as consumers want to try the latest thing – smart TV connected to the internet, perhaps go for 3D – but the volumes will probably be not enough to overcome the very small margins that are on TVs.”

Floodgate suggested that regions which had their analogue signals switched off the earliest tended to experience the largest increase in sales, but the impact has diminished as the process has swept through the country.

He said: “At the beginning of the switch over the spikes were of a reasonable size, but as the exercise has continued the spike tended to reduce, probably due to consumers switching to digital TV ahead of the official switch over dates.

“Once the switch over has been completed in a region, sales of TVs were completely flat, evening out the sales figures.”

Floodgate added: “The actual switch over process has gone really well and we have received very few complaints from consumers almost certainly due to the efforts of those charged with ensuring a smooth transition to digital TV. It will remain to be seen how the transition to digital radio progresses.”