Why Are RCA TVs So Cheap? (Explained)

Ever wondered why RCA TVs are so cheap?

Dive into the factors shaping their pricing, from manufacturing locations and smart features to industry competition and the evolving TV market.

Discover how RCA maintains its competitive edge in a rapidly changing landscape.

A picture of a 55" RCA TV.

1. RCA TVs are mostly made in China

RCA TVs are cheap because they are made in China, where labor costs are lower. My research shows that most RCA TVs are made in China. Some are made in Mexico, but nearly all come from Asia.

When it comes to electronics, most brands outsource their production to China due to low labor costs and a vast labor pool. RCA TVs are no different.

Business practices have changed quickly in China. Industrial production in China relies on a network of suppliers, makers, distributors, and agencies.

All these players cooperate and compete, making electronic production in China very efficient. Companies like RCA use China’s efficient supply chain to cut costs and boost profits.

2. RCA makes money after you take the TV home

TV prices have dropped in recent years. TV makers, like RCA, now see that a bigger profit is made when you watch at home.

Manufacturers don’t just rely on TV sales. RCA, for example, can track and sell your viewing data to advertisers. They make money when you watch.

Almost all TVs sold now are smart TVs. RCA sells both types: smart and non-smart.

The smart ones use Roku TV or LG’s WebOS. Both platforms let you access services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, CBS, and Sling TV.

The smart TV function lets you access content from various services. Smart TVs gather data on viewers’ habits: who’s watching, frequency, and duration. This data is what advertisers crave.

RCA gives this viewer data to advertisers. This helps target ads viewers might like. Since this data isn’t often linked to personal info, it’s a reason why RCA TVs cost less.

3. LCD screen prices have become cheaper

Another reason why RCA TVs are so affordable is due to the price drop of LCD panels. LCD TV panel prices for sizes like 43-inch to 65-inch dropped by up to 3% in February 2022.

There’s confirmation that the price of LCD panels has continued to fall in recent years.

The price drop is due to an oversupply of LCD panels, and prices will stabilize when supply matches demand.

There are also reports that Samsung is planning to reduce the number of TV screens it orders. This means there may be surplus screens that manufacturers want to sell off cheaply.

Due to order reductions, LCD screen makers have cut production, likely leading to surplus screens.

4. More competition for RCA

Companies lower the prices of their products or services with the goal of stealing customers from their competitors or gaining market share. This is called a price war.

RCA TVs are known for their affordability, but they face stiff competition from budget TV brands like Sceptre, TCL, and Hisense.

It’s common to see price wars in industries with heavy competition and several comparable products. There is an incentive for a competitor to cut prices to gain a greater market share.

If Hisense lowers its TV prices, RCA, operating in the same niche, often feels compelled to do the same. This is great news for consumers, as it means more affordable smart TVs.

In fact, some RCA TVs have prices just below $200, a remarkably low cost.

5. TVs are becoming cheaper

Televisions are no longer a luxury. TVs have evolved from being like furniture to simply being another piece of technology.

While prices of many items rise, television prices are actually falling. According to Statista, the average price for television has continuously declined since 2013.

In 2021, the price decreased to around USD $330. This trend will continue and by 2026 the average price of a TV will have decreased to around USD $292.71.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that television prices in 2023 are 99.24% lower than in 1950, a difference of about $992.43.

Put simply, a TV priced at $1,000 in 1950 would be just $7.57 in 2023. This represents a 6.47% yearly deflation rate from 1950 to 2023.

As the television industry lowers prices, RCA must also reduce its TV prices.

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