Originally Posted by ERosenbrg
What is your source for these statistics? Are you basing it on the small sample of people who post their experiences on AVS or the microcosm of your own local store?
I know this confuses you -- and I can tell by your tone that I've already pressed some of your hot buttons so you'll ignore everything that follows in the post anyway, but I'm going to write it for other people -- but we do know a good deal about how few of these TVs are sold.
Without revealing to you information that if I shared the source of, people would get into trouble, there are ways of extracting data from people that I -- as a long-time businessperson with an understanding of the volumes in the industry might be aware of that you might not.
It's very popular on the internet for people to not like something reported by someone and to play a game of shoot the messenger. The funny thing is, there is nothing controversial about the following:
Sharp sells a fairly tiny number of Elites. "Success" for a product line like this is measured in numbers below 100,000 annually. Some people at AVS think that last year Sharp sold gigantic number of 70" TVs, for example. And, by historical standards, they most certainly did. What did those gigantic numbers look like? Something below a quarter million. Do I know the precise figure? No, I don't. Do I know for certain it wasn't anywhere near a half million or more? Yes, I most certainly do. And the ability to get that fact didn't require talking with anyone at Sharp, they basically handed out the information if you knew were to look.
There are also a number of well-known rules of thumb about pricing ratios and portions of sales. If, for example, I offer a TV for $1000 and a similar TV for $2000 with more features, the cheaper one doesn't only outsell the more expensive by 2x, but by far more
. If I want to sell the $2000 TV at anything more than a few percent of my total mix, I typically need to add an even more expensive TV to the mix.
Sharp moved the vast majority of its 70" displays at $3000 or less retail last year. They were in pretty much every big-box CE store nationally, Sears, warehouse clubs, etc. It was also sold online by Amazon and countless other dot-com retailers.They were everywhere TVs were sold. The Elite? Where was that for sale? More or less not online, at a few hundred specialty CE retailers nationally, through a portion of the custom-install channel and at some high-end big-box stores like Magnolia/BB, et al.
Simply on distribution alone, you can imagine the ceiling on the Elite -- again, I don't have to imagine, but you can. This doesn't make the Elite bad, it makes it relatively hard to buy. Then you add the fact that the 60" Elite was selling for up to 4x what a Sharp-branded 60" LCD was elsewhere and the 70" Elite was selling for up to 3x.
You know, we talk of the AVS bubble: "People here are more likely to return than other people." Maybe in some cases that's true although there are reasons to doubt how powerful that effect really is (some are good reasons), but it cuts both ways. People outside the bubble see an $8000 pricetag on a TV and they are done. Especially at Best Buys where it's hard to negotiate on price. They just ignore such a product, they don't find Chris @ Cleveland Plasma and work their way down to $6500 (or whatever Chris can sell it at to make money).
At one point, Suzook had a friend report to him how few Elites had sold in Florida over some period. The number was so small I speculated that Sharp would have to cancel the line if that was going on elsewhere. (Again, I'm sticking with information all of you can find as opposed to thinks I might know that are based on things I can't share.)
If you take standard ratios of sales based on the price increments of the Elites, you account for the reduced distribution vs. the Sharp line, you use publicly available data, etc., you can approximate the total Elite sales for 2011 fairly evenly and your magnitude is, again, the tens of thousands. I'd rather not dive deeper into that number except to say this:
1) The Elite sold for only a small part of the year last year and therefore even if it was destined to sell 100K units (it wasn't), the partial year would massively depress that total.
2) Sharp has stated they are happy with the numbers they've sold. I have no reason to doubt this. If I forecast X and sell X, I'm happy. If I sell 1.1X, I'm really happy. I have no idea what the original goal was. I have reasons to believe they did slightly exceed the original goal.
Or have you actually seen published numbers that indicate the exact sales volume and rates of return/exchange of the 60" and 70" Elite TVs? If you're basing your assertions on real numbers, what is the source? Because I'd sure love to know how many Elites were sold, just like I'd love to know how many Kindles have been sold.
So I have no aggregate info on the exchange rate, I have a lot of anecdotal information. Anecdotes get a bad rap because one of them is useless. It's a "data point". But a data point is not entirely useless once you start collecting a bunch of them. Suddenly, you have the makings of data.
Incidentally, I don't care how many Kindles have been sold, but when you're a giant company like Amazon and you keep ducking the question, it's safe to assume the number is lower than the most optimistic estimates. I'll leave it at athat.
Too bad neither Amazon.com nor Sharp actually publish these numbers. But you know the numbers. OK.
See, that's just provocative garbage. I'm not taking your bait.
There are things I know that you don't know. (I'm sure the opposite is also true.) When I don't know something someone else knows, I don't waste a lot of time attempting to impugn their credibility. You do. Enjoy it.
So far my Elite hasn't exhibited any of the major symptoms that dominate this forum. The only issue I've ever seen was some brief DSE on one episode of Two and a Half Men. That's it! No pulsing, no suddenly dead TV, no cyan mismatch that I or my calibrator could see, no DSE (aside from that one time), and no vertical/horizontal lines that don't belong.
Good, that's an anecdote.
So am I in the minority, or am I in the majority? One thing I know for sure: no one knows the answer to that except Sharp, and they're not talking.
And there, again, you are wrong. People besides Sharp do in fact know. In some ways, they know better. It took weeks for Sharp to begin to get their support ramped properly. Dealers already had reports back from customers on the problems with the TV.
By the way, you are in the majority in that the majority haven't returned their TVs. What the question is asking is not that, however. It's asking whether the return / problem rate is above normal.
Originally Posted by Ken Ross
I think logic would indicate that those that frequent AVS are not 'mainstream' buyers. Hardly anyone I know is even aware of the existence of this forum. With that said, IMO, the typical AVS member is more passionate about video & audio and more likely to spot issues as well as appreciate the best equipment out there.
Yes, and yet anyone who buys the Elite at Best Buy for $8000 that isn't absolutely delighted is also likely to get on the phone and demand a refund. i was out car shopping yesterday, and my dealer told me interesting stories of people demanding buybacks for cars-gone-wrong. When you shell out real coin, you demand near perfection.
Did a non-AVSer ever see the pulsing? Of course. Did a few of them send back the TV because of it? Yes. (Note, my guess is that no one without access to the internet community has returned the TV for the "cyan error", but I'm confident the undersaturation problem some of you had saw/had led to some number of returns.)
However, I think this same group is both more anal about issues (even minor ones) and more susceptible to being influenced by issues that others see.
So here I agree with you 1000%. I liken it to sick building syndrome and it runs rampant on the forums.
But when people actually send their TVs back, they send them back. And I'm not sure we've seen evidence here of people sending their TVs back for fictitious reasons.
So what does all this mean relative to the exchange ratio? IMO it simply means you can't judge 'average' from this relatively small AVS group. You can judge 'average for AVS owners', but that's about it. In actuality, even that theory may be questionable. What percentage of AVS members buy a set like the Elite, fall in love with it, and simply never return to this thread?
Sorry, Ken, we're going to part company on these conclusions. You can judge
. Every TV gets picked apart here if it has any merit at all. You can judge relatively to other TVs. It's also not reasonable to assume that AVSers act differently on a given TV. If we look at the character / nature of well-trafficked AVS threads, we could discern with very high accuracy the relative frequency
of problems between sets and the relative satisfaction levels. People who are happy with the Elite and never return should be no more or less likely to return than people who are happy with the Sony HX929 or the Panasonic VT30.
We learn a lot from who returns, from the absolute number of reported complaints compared to sales volumes
(with the massive caveat that sales volumes here are skewed vs. the norm).
IOW making any kind of definitive statement about return ratio is about as non-scientific as you can get.
Here's my statement: "it actually does seem that the return / exchange rate is high."
I'd hardly call that definitive. I'd call it intentionally laden with wiggle words.