World Cup defies odds to boost big-screen TV sales

Television sets on display at the Anisuma Traders Limited shop on Jinja Road in Kampala on Thursday. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The 2022 Fifa World Cup kicked off on November 20 and its final match will be contested on December 18.

Football fans in Uganda have defied daunting economic challenges by going on a World Cup-fuelled TV buying binge as the football tournament closes in on the two-week mark.
Samsung Uganda said there has been a spike in the sale of big-screen TVs, 55in (140cm) or more, with the retailer expecting the pace of growth to continue as knockout matches in the tournament take centre stage.
“World Cup boosted our sales further amid our already existing discounts,” Mr John Bosco Achelu, a sales executive with Samsung, said of the retailer’s 20 percent discount off all its products, adding: “We don’t usually open shop on Sundays, but we did on the day World Cup kicked off (November 20) and our sales rose with most of the customers interested in 55inches to 85in TV sets.”

Larger screens have gained traction on account of advances in technology mustered by TV manufacturers. Ultra-high definition and 4K technology TVs have also increasingly become popular with the ongoing World Cup churning out more 4K-quality broadcasts than ever before.
The investment in 4K TVs as well as large screens, however, transcends interest in World Cup football as per one retailer that has noticed a change in viewing habits.
“Most of our customers fancy smart TVs over regular TV sets because they do not need to connect an antenna as well as internet connectivity through Wi-Fi,” Mr Fred Mukesi, a sales executive at Hisense Uganda, told Saturday Monitor, adding: “Most people want to use the same TV to stream many other things.”
The mini sales boom is a fillip for retailers who are struggling amid rising costs just as shoppers rein in spending on non-essentials partly because of inflation in food and fuel prices. 

Mr Justus Nasasira, a digital marketer at Mercury Computers Limited—a company that also sells TV sets, told Saturday Monitor that sales at the dealership increased dramatically in advance of the World Cup matches in November compared to other months.
“According to data from our inventory system, customers bought a lot of TV sets,” he revealed on November 30, adding, “Unlike previous times, this time round they coupled them with other TV equipment like home theatres. In the past week, sales of home theatre systems have increased by 120 percent.”
Asked which is the bestselling TV set on the market in Kampala today, Mr Nasasira pointed out the 55in Hisense SMART 4K Ultra HD, demonstrating that ultra-high definition and 4K technology TVs will massively outsell other sets as the World Cup rages on.

With football fans increasingly on the move, and some group matches being staged at 1pm local time, a niche in the market has been carved out around watching live matches on handsets. YOTV Channels, an application that allows users to watch television on the go, has summarily experienced growth in some form during the football season.
Mr Aggrey Mugisha, the YOTV Channels chief executive, told Saturday Monitor that a partnership with the national broadcaster—UBC TV—that has seen the app relay live World Cup matches has triggered a slight bump in its viewership numbers.
Mr Mugisha admits that high Internet charges coupled with low levels of Internet penetration in the country have kept the vast bulk of people plugged into traditional media. 



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