A new report from IMS Research estimates that over 30% of US consumers who plan to purchase a TV set in the next 12 months have set their sights on an Internet-connected model or Smart TV.
Internet connectivity is described as becoming increasingly important to consumers in the US, with Smart TV features believed to be driving 70% more TV purchases than they did a year ago.
“The awareness and preference for Smart TVs and the video services and applications that can be accessed through them is increasing, creating a shift in consumer purchase behaviour,” said Veronica Thayer, market analyst at IMS Research and author of the report. “However, price, screen size and picture quality remain the primary purchase drivers in the US”.
Significantly, the consumer survey also found that Internet connectivity is not only a stronger purchase driver than 3D, but that it has become as relevant to consumers as LED screen technology.
Among consumers who purchased a TV in the past 12 months, 63 percent more consumers claim they wanted a LED TV than an Internet-connected TV. In contrast, among consumers who plan to purchase a TV in the next year, almost the same amount claim that they want an Internet-connected TV as a LED TV.
The usage of video apps like Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and CinemaNow was also found to be significantly higher among Smart TV owners than for consumers who access this type of application through another device connected to their TV set, such as a games console.
Smart TV owners are believed to be waking up to the possibilities created by connecting their devices to the Internet, with new research from Parks Associates finding that the percentage of smart TV owners who actually connect their device to the Internet (long suspected as being in the minority) now stands at 56%, compared to 40% six months ago.
A separate study conducted recently by ABI Research predicted that Connected TV penetration in North America and Western Europe will surge from just over 10% in 2011 to over 50% by 2017, overtaking the penetration of games consoles, which will pass 61% and 46% by 2017 in North America and Western Europe respectively, with rates significantly lower in other regions.
A recent report from NPD defined a smart TV as being able to access a branded portal or service, while a connected TV is capable of accessing video content on the Internet (whether that be ubiquitously-available services like YouTube or structured services from broadcasters).