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Consumer exposure to 3D video on the rise, but seasonal declines seen in purchase intent

Aversion to 3D glasses is a leading purchase inhibitor, but consumers are warming to portable 3D experiences

  • Key4Communications

More US consumers are gaining exposure to 3D video at movie theaters, retail venues, and in the homes of friends and family; however, according to an NPD Group research, overall awareness and purchase intent for specific 3D products declined in May 2011 versus October 2010. Declines were noted in all 3D product categories, except for home and portable video games consoles, which showed increases.

"With the run-up to the holiday purchase season, the intent to purchase 3D televisions followed the purchase intent to buy TVs in general," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. "As NPD's sell-through data shows, sales of 3D TVs did indeed rise during the holiday season, but they have since receded due to the seasonality of major electronics purchases."

Portable handheld 3D video-game consoles experienced the biggest increase in consumer awareness of any 3D category NPD tracks, due in large part to the launch of the Nintendo 3DS in February. Awareness of this 3D category rose from 5 percent last October to 13 percent in May. "Growth in both awareness and purchase intent for the 3D video-game player market is a particular bright spot in this emerging arena," Rubin said. "The Nintendo 3DS has a low price compared to a 3D television and doesn't require glasses to view the effect. These advantages will also hold true for 3D smartphones entering the market this year."

Consumers reject glasses
For the majority of consumers who weren't interested in purchasing any 3D devices, glasses were the major barrier to purchasing, surpassing price as the most frequently cited objection. Even so price is also still a growing concern: 42 percent of consumers in May reported that prices were a barrier to purchasing a 3D TV, which is up from 38 percent last September.

"With lighter and less expensive active shutter glasses, a mix of smaller displays, and the entry of passive 3D technologies into the market, the industry is offering more 3D options to consumers," Rubin said. "A greater array of Blu-ray titles, along with new digital delivery alternatives, is also helping to ease the path to 3D entertainment."

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