Best Buy Forecast Down, Number of HDTVs Up (and Down)

You take the good, you take the bad, you take ’em both and there you have — the facts of the consumer electronics market. The sector was a mixed bag o’ news today; retailer Best Buy (s bby) lowered its fiscal 2009 outlook, while new research indicates that roughly one-third of U.S. households now have at least one HDTV set, though sales are slowing down.
Best Buy CEO Bradbury H. Anderson said today that the company was experiencing a “seismic” change in consumer behavior (and not in a good way). The chain cut its earnings outlook for the fiscal year ending in February to $2.30-$2.90 a share from a previous estimate of $3.25-$3.40 per share and said it sees revenue coming in between $43.7 billion and $45.4 billion. That compares with the average analyst forecast of $3.02 a share on sales of $46.23 billion.
The retail chain’s grim predictions follow news this week that troubled rival retailer Circuit City (s cc) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
But buck up, buttercup. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Leichtman Research Group released a study today showing that 34 percent (about 40 million) U.S. households have an HDTV. That’s twice the number of households that owned an HDTV two years ago and LRG predicts this number will double again over the next four years. The survey also found that 33 percent of HDTV owners have more than one HDTV set and 25 percent are likely to get another one in the next year.
That 25 percent better get crackin’. Not to bring you down again, but according to research firm DisplaySearch, shipments of flat panel TV sets in the U.S. were up only 21 percent in the third quarter of this year, compared with the previous six quarters that saw unit sales increased at least 41 percent. Translation: people weren’t buying as many TVs. And as The New York Times points out, those DisplaySearch numbers were just through September, when the market started to go south. Unless something drastic happens, this holiday season is likely to get worse.