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No extra sales, World Cup merely brings TV sales forward

Fans eager to catch every last details of play have been scrambling to buy new television sets. But the drive may not have the impact companies are hoping for. 

SINGAPORE: The World Cup kicks off in Brazil next week.

Fans eager to catch every last details of play have been scrambling to buy new television sets. But the drive may not have the impact companies are hoping for.

Every four years, sales of television sets skyrocket due to the World Cup.

And it's something manufacturers are banking on this time around too.

Samsung's first quarter profits were down 3.3 per cent. But the company told shareholders not to worry as it expects "to see profits rally in the second quarter as consumers look forward to the upcoming World Cup in Brazil."

Analysts say the World Cup effect does not actually drive extra sales -- it merely brings those sales forward.

Linn Huang, research manager at Devices & Displays, IDC, said: "Does the World Cup or any kind of sporting event create new sales? I don't necessarily buy into that. I think a lot of these sales we are talking about were planned well in advance of the World Cup or any sporting event that may come throughout the year."

But that doesn't mean there aren't winners.

The games are expected to encourage some fans to upgrade to ultra-high definition TVs, known as 4K2K.

Research firm DisplaySearch said the World Cup could help.

Taiwanese flat-screen supplier Innolux and AU Optronics grabbed a combined 58 per cent of the global 4K2K market this year, with Samsung and LG Display taking 25 per cent, and Chinese manufacturers China Star Optoelectronics and BOE Technology set for 14 per cent.

Linn Huang said: "Even though some of the content won't be broadcast in 4K natively, a consumer that goes out and buys a 4K TV is going to be able to enjoy the football games in a 4K resolution to a certain extent. We do think the 4K or ultra-def TV market is ramping up. But I would say the World Cup is coinciding more with this ramp-up of 4K TVs, then it is driving it."

But it's not just about big screens anymore. Sports fans are increasingly turning to their small screens too.

By 2017, one in eight people globally will own a tablet, according to Forrester Research.

And while experts can't draw a direct link between sales and the World Cup, they say it cannot hurt.

Clement Teo, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said: "If you think back about eight years ago, the whole family gathered around one television set to watch the World Cup.

"Today, that has changed because I can be online with my friends, sharing my comments, my likes on FB (Facebook) about the particular game, or at the same time buying stuff as well because it could be a team that I support and like the merchandise and I can click to buy."

TV, tablet and smartphones -- perhaps it's technology that will score a hat-trick in World Cup 2018. 

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