Consumer projectors see surprising uptick as TV buyers migrate
Home projectors are flying off shelves like never before with brands witnessing triple-digit growth in sales on the back of increasing consumer interest in replicating aspects of the theatre-viewing experience from within the comforts of their homes.
Much to the cheer of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), increasing demand has helped brands offset sluggish growth in business-to-business (B2B) sales. “The uptick helped since demand for other important segments, such as education and corporates, have been slow to pick up,” said Satyanarayana P., director, large format printers, visual products and robots, Epson India.
In fact, some brands “used the opportunity” to scale up production of entry-level business projectors to meet the growing demand for at-home-entertainment, or work-from-home set ups, Satyanarayana added.
Experts said projectors were mostly sold for office use in India, and though home projectors have been available for long, they were never a key segment for OEMs. To be sure, enterprise projectors still dominate the market share, despite the fall in sales through 2021 with offices remaining closed for most part of the year.
BenQ has seen 100% year-on-year growth in the sale of home projectors in 2021, while the overall projector market grew 50%.
“People who were using smart TV felt the need to upgrade the living rooms with larger screens to offer immersive experience. This is where projectors became the first choice as one could easily go for a 100-150-inch screen at a far affordable price compared to TVs of the same size,” Rajeev Singh, managing director, BenQ India, said.
Projector maker Optoma, too, saw sales of home projectors growing 150% year-on-year in 2021. “People have started making investment in high-end equipment, such as high-end projectors to establish a permanent home theatre setup for full enjoyment,” said Vijay Sharma, country head, India, Optoma Corp.
The rise in the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms and other at-home entertainment options with people remaining cooped up at homes during the two years of the pandemic spurred the desire to improve their home theatre experience, experts said.
Consumers have also become aware of the advantages, as projectors are a healthier option compared to a TV considering that the reflected light source is easier on the eyes than the direct light from a TV screen, Singh added. Most home projectors have a compact design compared to TVs, and gives the buyer the freedom to get their entertainment from anywhere, indoors or outdoors, Singh said.
Furthermore, OEMs have started making projectors with more in-built features such as support for OTT streaming.
For instance, Samsung launched an ultra-portable projector with in-built OTT support, and a flexible 180-degree hinge design last month.
While projectors are available for ₹30,000 to ₹6 lakh mid-level projectors with a price tag of ₹1-2.5 lakh have been in demand, said Sharma.
According to Singh, there is more demand for projectors offering 100-150-inch screens, with 4K resolution and built-in OTT support , as well as flexible design. Optoma saw a 120% growth in demand for 4K projectors.
Even with the reopening of schools and offices, brands are not expecting a reversal in the trend. Singh said there is a lot of demand from educational institutions, as well as corporates after almost two years. “The projector market is set to grow higher in 2022 than the previous year ,” he added.