japan TV boom
Impending digital switchover and eco-incentives lead to a 40% flatscreen sales increase

It may be down to the stay-at-home trend, the forthcoming switchover to all-digital TV or even government green incentives, but sales of flatscreen TVs were up over 40% in Japan during 2009, hitting a record 13.62m units.

What's more, sales during December alone were almost 2.4m units, getting on for 70% higher than in the same month in 2008.

One reason given for the boom is the eco-point system introduced to encourage consumers to trade up to more energy efficient products, but this doesn't seem to have carried through to other domestic appliances, or 'white goods', sales of which were generally down on 2008 levels.

Japan is set to switch its TV broadcasting over to an all-digital service next year, and this is also seen as a driver of the market.

And the forthcoming Winter Olympics, in which Japanese competitors traditionally do well, and which attracts a fanatical following for events such as skating, could also be a factor in the sales boom.

More after the break

Blu-ray disc recorders were also a major success in 2009, with large numbers of consumers making the switch from DVD recorders in order to take advantage of Japan's HD TV services: sales were up over 90% on 2008 levels, and almost 3m players and recorders were shipped in December.

However, the growth in TV sales isn't all good news for the beleaguered Japanese consumer electronics companies: like-for-like pricing on TVs was down 20% on 2008 tags.Follow whathifi on Twitter