An increased cost of panels arising from a global demand supply gap shall lead to the television prices going up by around 20 per cent as manufacturers try to pass on the buck to the ultimate consumers.
While Panasonic has already increased prices of its sets, Videocon, LG and Sony are monitoring the situation as panel prices have gone up by up to 35 per cent with Chinese manufacturers increasing prices while other South Korean and Taiwanese suppliers have stopped manufacturing smaller screens for television sets.
"Low supply of display panels has caused us to review our pricing and we will be increasing the price of the Panasonic television sets across screen sizes by 15 to 20 per cent," said Panasonic India Head - Sales and Service Ajay Seth. He further said: "We anticipate Indian customers will now upgrade faster to larger screen sizes since the current price hike will narrow the price difference between a 32-inch and 40-inch to Rs 4,000 as compared to Rs 6,000 previously".
Videocon COO CM Singh said that the prices of 32-inch panels have gone up the most, followed by 40-inches. "In fact, the shortage may worsen further in October and panel prices may go up by another 18-20 per cent," said Singh. Explaining the reasons, he said: "For smaller screen, now there are few players only (supplying panels). It was coupled with Apple increasing the demand and lot of players getting out of smaller screen."
In India consumption of smaller screen is 70 to 75 per cent with 32 inch TV sets contributing around 38 per cent of total sales, he added. However, market leaders such as Sony and LG are closely monitoring the situation and may take a decision after Diwali, when the festive season gets over.
"On the basis our advance planning, we don't intend to have any price hike during the festive season. We will closely monitor the situation and review post Diwali," said Sony India Head of Sales Satish Padmanabhan.
An LG spokesperson said: "We at LG have always believed in providing best value to our consumers and we are closely monitoring the situation". Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association President Manish Sharma said India is a big market for 32 inch and 40?42 inch LED TV's, with the former selling almost 3.3 million units and the latter selling almost 1.1 million units in 2015. The decisions of hiking prices or to absorb is being evaluated carefully by each player, he said.