Sales of televisions slumped badly during level 4 - despite a TV being a late addition to the list of essential goods for the period.
Market tracker GfK says sales were off 76 per cent, by value during level 4 and off 38 per cent during level 3. The Herald understands that equates to around 20,000 fewer tellies than normal being sold.
The brighter news: sales were up 31 per cent, or around 4000 more sets sold than usual, over the first three weeks of level 2.
TV makers like Samsung - which has just released new models - are hoping the bounce will prove more substantial than just the release of pent-up demand.
They see a possible nesting craze, with people upgrading to bigger and better TVs in lieu of returning to the cinema, where new Hollywood movies are scarce and the virus threat lurks.
We're already buying larger and larger tellies, according to GfK's point-of-sale data.
In 2015, a majority of sales were TVs between 32 inches and 50 inches (retailers still list TV size in diagonal, in imperial, Just Because).
Last year, the 55- to 60-inch bracket was the most popular.
This year, your friendly neighbourhood retailer could try to talk you into a 75-inch model.
Do you need 8K
There is some method to this consumer madness - and to understand it, we need a very quick history lesson.
When flat-screen tellies first hit the market, the big deal was that most could support a high definition (HD) display made from 1920 x 1080 pixels (or the lesser 1280 x 720) - a step up in picture quality from standard definition or SD (704×576).
Then from 2013, the first 4K or ultra high definition TVs started to creep into the market, offering a display made from at least 3840 x 2160 pixels - meaning the picture on your screen is made from more than eight million dots.
Today, 4K is standard with even modestly priced TVs (as is another breakthrough technology, high dynamic range or HDR, which improves tone and contrast).
Now we're seeing the first 8K models, which offer 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution - or a picture made up of more than 33 million pixels or four times the quality of 4K.
The received wisdom is that if you sit around 2m back from your telly, then you need at least a 50-inch set to be able to appreciate the difference in quality between 2K and 4K.
And for those with all but the keenest eyesight, a 65-inch screen is required to be able to perceive the superiority of 8K over 4K.
Samsung was actually the first to bring 8K sets to New Zealand last year.
This year, there's still the same basic objection: the lack of 8K content.
Netflix now requires makers of original series to shoot in 8K, which is promising, but it's yet to say when it will stream in 8K (when it does, New Zealand, with our widespread fibre and around 70 per cent of households on unlimited data plans, will be one of the few countries where it would be practical en masse).
Sky, TVNZ and other broadcasters are still nowhere near supporting 4K.
In fact, a lot of television content is still sub-HD - which means the bigger the screen, the worse it looks. I would pay to avoid watching Jones on a 75-inch screen.
Here, Samsung can deploy a couple of arguments. One is that its latest sets include upscaling, which involves some black magic with pixels to make sub-8K video look closer to 4K.
Another is that 8K will eventually arrive, so you're future-proofing. It's not a gimmick that may or may not take hold, like 3D or curved displays. The march of progress toward higher resolution is relentless. (Although the counterargument here is that 8K models will be a lot cheaper in a couple of years).
And this year there's also the fresh argument that you can now watch 8K content from YouTube on one of Samsung's new 8K tellies (YouTube has supported 8K for a while, but has only recently added smart TV support for the resolution).
But the top reason to buy an 8K model is still simply bragging rights, and do keep up with the Joneses.
From the ridiculous to the sublime
Samsung hasn't only hung its hat on 8K.
The company has also just released the Sero in New Zealand - which could be billed as the first TV aimed at Millennials, with their penchant for shooting video on their phones in vertical mode.
With a click of its remote, or a twirl of a Samsung phone, the Sero can swivel on a hinge from landscape to portrait mode.
Samsung's new Sero TV ($2799) will rotate to portrait mode at a flick of its remote - the better to watch vertical video shot on a phone pic.twitter.com/cWNia3WRU0— Chris Keall (@ChrisKeall) June 3, 2020
The 43-inch Sero got what I could politely call a "mixed" reaction on social media after I posted a clip.
When it's in vertical mode, the Sero ($2799) resembles a giant smartphone, which I guess will appeal to a certain demographic. Samsung says it's already made sales in NZ, at any rate. So there's a couple of fat-walleted Millennials out there who enjoy a twirling TV.
While 8K is coming to all TVs (it's just a question of when the price point is right for you), many buyers will file this one under "Gimmick", next two 3D and curved displays.
Of keener interest are the latest models in Samsung's Frame TV series, which now extends to a 75-inch model (the range previously topped out at 65-inches).
The aim of the Frame is to mimic a real-life work of art - both from its beige, white or brown wooden picture frame bezel to its ability to display one of 1200 pieces of art.
The idea is to overcome what some in the AV trade call the partner objection factor (or what, in less enlightened times, was referred to as the wife objection factor) - when you think a big piece is beautiful, but your other half thinks it just looks like a big ugly rectangle when it's off.
At the top end of the range, The Frame is not cheap (the 75-inch model costs $6499, then there is a $7 a month subscription fee for the art library, and swap-out frames are $199 a pop). But The Frame achieves its aim. When a set is in art mode and hanging on a wall, it does look exactly like a framed picture. No one would give it a second glance.
The Frame is available in a variety of sizes, with entry-level 32-inch model are more digestible $1299.
Sure, you can mimic the same effect by faffing around with customisable screen-saver options on many sets, but the Frame makes it easy, and has smarts like adjusting to ambient lighting.
The bezel is also a feature with the new Serif - only in this case it's exaggerated in a Jetsons-style frame that merges into a floor-stand for a hipster. The Serif comes with a 43-, 49- and 55-inch display.
At the other end of the scale, Samsung's flagship Q950ts, which will appeal to minimalists with its super-thin bezel that makes it near-frameless. This 8K, QLED set is available in 65-inch ($13,799) 75-inch ($17,799) and 85-inch ($25,799) options.
And of those whose lifestyle definitely hasn't been hurt by any Covid cutbacks, Samsung also previewed The Terrace, a 4K QLED outdoor TV that will come in 55-, 6-5 and 75-inch models, plus an accompanying soundbar. Both are IP55-rated for water and dust resistance.