Small TV sales skyrocket as viewers stay indoors – but do you need one?

(Image credit: Toshiba)

It's not a great time for most traditional retail businesses, with regular shoppers stuck indoors and non-essential shops closed to the public, but the shift towards indoors-living has seen a boom in sales of small TVs.

According to market research company Gfk (Growth From Knowledge), TV sales as a whole in the UK are up 59.5% in units sold from this time last year – marking a massive increase in our TV spending habits. But the biggest growth is in the small TV category, for displays smaller than a 42-inch size.

TVs are often seen as quite sizeable one-off purchases, and in general we don't recommend making them too often (a 2020 QLED won't see much difference from a 2019 model, after all). But we're seeing a huge growth in sales of second screens – if not third for larger households – as viewers look to meet demand for in-house entertainment for families and flat-shares.

Gfk UK retail lead, Kelly Whitwick tells us that, “Despite the jump in sales, the average price point of the overall purchases is at its lowest point seen this year. This suggests people are buying basic models for practical solutions, rather than splashing out to enhance the viewing experience with a better model.

"Basically, people are facing having their entire household at home every day; possibly with the need to keep distance from each other, and almost certainly with very different views on what they want to watch – so they are quickly buying an extra TV to spread out around the house.”

Why a small TV?

While the average TV size gets progressively larger each year – 55-inch being the flagship size these days, and 65-inch the fastest growing category – small TVs are often the better solution for compact housing, or those after a second screen alongside their primary display. There's only so many 75-inch televisions most of us can fit into our homes – if any at all.

We may have been reaching a saturation point for new and giant televisions, though, with small TVs now being geared towards second screens rather than simply primary displays on a budget.

We spoke to James Parker, Head of TV Product Management at Samsung Electronics UK, who told us that, "Although consumers are purchasing bigger screens more than ever before, there is now a growing demand for smaller screens as consumer habits are shifting. 

"Today, an increasing number of UK households now own more than one TV. Consumers are also more likely to purchase a second TV for their bedrooms which are generally more restricted with space."

Whether you need a second screen for your partner's terrible taste in Netflix shows, or a set to play kids shows on repeat in the living room, or just something for yourself, you can find some of the best TV deals in our 40-inch TVs guide.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.