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Culture

Consumers snap up LCD monitors

People shoving at Wal-Mart weren't just looking for cheap notebooks. They also bought LCDs, research firm says.

Promotional pricing on LCD monitors caused unit sales to increase by 36 percent during Thanksgiving week in U.S. retail stores and set an overall record for LCDs sold in a week, according to research firm Current Analysis.

Some retail stores cut prices on 17-inch monitors to $150, while 19-inch monitors could be had for as low as $169, Christian Dias, an analyst at Current Analysis, said Thursday. Heavy advertising also bolstered sales. Advertisements for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) increased by 89 percent over the same week a year ago.

"The replacement market is driving this," Dias said. "People are getting rid of their CRTs."

Overall, the average price of an LCD dropped from $365 during Thanksgiving week in 2004 to $318 this year.

The results from Thanksgiving week and the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, are pleasing electronics makers. Notebook, TV and desktop sales all showed strong growth.

Despite price cuts, overall revenue also increased in many product categories. LCD revenue went up 19 percent from the same week a year ago, Dias said. Revenue from PCs, for instance, climbed by 11 percent on a 35 percent boost in unit sales.

Investment bank Bear Stearns issued a similar report on retail sales, noting that Apple Computer iPod sales were strong, leading to low inventories.

Some analysts predicted that if sales turned out to be anemic during the week, panic would begin to grip the industry. Often, consumer electronics makers operate on tight margins.

Proview Technology, which offered deep discounts, led LCD monitor sales for the week, capturing 24 percent of sales. Samsung followed with 20 percent, while Hewlett-Packard and Gateway tied for third with 17 percent.