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“4K or Not 4K?” Is Not the Question: New TV Path-to-Purchase Study Shows Buyers Are More Interested in Price and Size than Technology and Features

InfoScout, America’s richest source of consumer purchase data, has released the results of a new study that shows that despite TV makers’ hype over the latest technologies and features heading into the holiday shopping season, most TV buyers are not persuaded by product and brand differentiation messages during their path to purchase. For the great majority of buyers, finding a TV at the right price point and size far outweigh other considerations.

Among the survey’s most surprising revelations, buyers said that for 79 percent of TV purchases, they either did not have a preferred brand in mind immediately before making a purchase, or they changed their mind after walking into the store. Only 26 percent said features such as 4K resolution or Smart TV functionality were important to their purchase decisions.

“The findings should come as a shock, or perhaps a wake-up call to marketers,” said Bob Goodwin, practice leader for consumer technology for InfoScout. “While it’s true that TV buyers are doing more research than ever, they are still largely undecided right up until the point of purchase. At first blush, this would seem counterintuitive – until you dig deeper into the buying process.

“The data indicate that buyers are not seeing a huge difference in picture quality when they compare TVs in store. Picture quality has become very good across the board. So consumers end up making their decision based on whether the TV fits their wall and fits their wallet,” Goodwin said.

The study, “Understanding the Path to Purchase for Television Buyers,” provides an in-depth analysis of buyers’ experiences, behaviors and thought processes throughout the purchasing journey, and how they affect the customer’s purchase decision and satisfaction. It is based on a survey of 840 consumers who purchased a TV within a recent 60-day period.

The survey’s key findings include:

  • Just one in five TV buyers – 21 percent – purchase the brand they intended to purchase when they walk into the store. The rest either don’t have a specific brand in mind, or change their mind after they enter the store.
  • Product features, such as 4K resolution or Smart TV functionality, are not the differentiators brands would like them to be. Only 26 percent of TV shoppers chose a specific brand because of product features.
  • In-store promotional displays and sales associates are not the influencers that retailers would like them to be. Fewer than a third of shoppers considered in-store merchandising (32 percent) or salespeople (25 percent) important to their decision.
  • Price and size are the overwhelming factors driving the ultimate purchase decision.

Goodwin said that while 4K TVs are expected to be a big seller as we approach Black Friday, the real story is that this popularity will be largely driven by deep price cuts.

“When we are expecting 55-inch 4K TVs to be sold for as low as $315 on Black Friday, are consumers really buying these TVs because they have 4K resolution? Our data suggests they will be buying them because it’s the largest screen that fits their budget,” said Goodwin.

Download “Understanding the Path to Purchase for Television Buyers” to see the full study results.

About InfoScout

InfoScout helps brands and retailers grow via next generation consumer insights derived from America’s largest purchase panel. Through its portfolio of proprietary mobile apps that engage a representative sample of American shoppers, InfoScout captures nearly 1 out of every 500 shopping trips made across the country. These shoppers also complete in-the-moment surveys to more fully explain the ‘why behind the buy.’ With more than 100 million brick-and-mortar and ecommerce receipts captured annually, InfoScout has rapidly become a primary source of real-time, omnichannel behavioral insights for industry leaders such as Intel, Electronic Arts, and NBC Universal.

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