What you need to know

Television sales experienced a surge during the lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers purchased TVs in preparation for long stints at home, some aided by the government CARES Act stimulus funds. Recessionary factors will cause an overall slowdown in the market as consumers put off the purchase of big-ticket items but should normalize along with economic recovery. Consumers will be driven not only by price, screen resolution and appearance of the set, but also by a desire to create a more connected home (both emotional and technological) with televisions as a central feature.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the television market.

  • How unemployment and other factors impact consumers’ television purchasing decisions.

  • Why consumers purchase televisions and which features are priorities.

  • Consumer attitudes toward the role of the television set in the household.

Consumer research was fielded in July 2020 and reflects attitudes and behaviors as consumers adjusted to life during COVID-19 as restrictions eased and businesses reopened across the US.


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Television/TV: Any independent device (“set”) built explicitly with the purpose of receiving broadcast television signals.

  • Smart TV: A TV set with internet connectivity and interactive features that allow it to perform tasks like stream audio or connect with other devices.

  • Big screen: A TV with a screen size of 60” or larger.

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US. 

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April, and non-essential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations. At the time of writing, all 50 states have relaxed restrictions, allowing businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. However, a resurgence of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans.

Americans sheltering in place and lacking out-of-home entertainment have been forced to look within the house for entertainment. This has resulted in an increase in television purchases during the pandemic. The varying price points of sets and the importance of television to Americans ensures that there will still be activity even amidst the economic recovery period.

Economic and other assumptions

The forecast and analysis provided reflects an estimated range of the market’s prospects in light of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This forecast is driven by Mintel analysts’ understanding of consumer behavior in this market, alongside an evaluation of how exposed this sector is to the crisis and how quickly demand will return to previous levels once a degree of normality returns to the market. Mintel’s economic assumptions are based on the updated forecasts released by the CBO on July 2, 2020. The CBO expects US GDP to fall by 5.8% in 2020 and recover to 4.0% growth in 2021. The CBO projects the unemployment rate to average 10.6% for the year, with an 8.4% rate for 2021. The current uncertainty means there is wide variation in the forecasts.

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