“Christmas, the busiest time for home electronics vendors, is just ahead. And while tens of thousands of people throughout Poland want to buy a new TV set, surprisingly they may encounter problems at shops. The demand for modern liquid crystal display TVs is so great that it can take several weeks to obtain a specific model at home. The worldwide trend to replace older cathode ray tube sets with LCD models has become apparent in Poland. According to figures published by Gazeta Wyborcza, distributors expect to sell almost a mln flat-screen TVs in 2007 compared to 460,000 in 2006. A total of 45 percent of this number will be sold during the last three months of the year.
This unprecedented growth of LCD sales is a consequence of technical development in the electronics industry.
The new type of TV sets is much better suited to new standards in digital television called high definition.
That’s why the older cathode ray models are withdrawn from production and offered with special discounts by shops.
Producers and retailers also fight for customers by cutting prices. Some of the LCD TVs are now up to 30 percent cheaper than a year ago, and before Christmas vendors even offer special discounts. The fierce competition is good for customers.
Every month sees further expansion of Internet-based shops that save on employee and shop rental costs and that can offer lower prices.
Two of the biggest e-shops offering home electronics, Agito.pl and Hopla.pl, even plan their stock exchange debuts in the beginning of 2008.
But as prices sink and demand rises, producers often fail to meet the demand and delays in shipment can stretch to several weeks. After having chosen a specific TV set, many clients learn that they have to wait. This applies especially to cheaper models around 2000 zloty (550 euro) with 32- and 37-inch screens.
The distributors face a difficult task but will be rewarded by high benefits, most observers believe.
According to GfK Polonia market research institute, the value of the Polish LCD market rose from 1.25 to 2.7 bln zloty (0.75 bln euro) during last year.
For the customers this situation in some ways resembles the Communist era, when the absence of a free market led to demand for almost all articles exceeding supply. In the 80s, citizens of the People’s Republic of Poland had to stand in line for hours to buy anything ? from bread to shoes.