Third quarter (Q3) TV shipments improved 4 percent, compared to a year ago, and LCD TV shipments alone rose nearly 9 percent, according to the latest findings from the Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, produced by DisplaySearch, now part of IHS Inc.
Annual TV shipment growth averaged less than 1 percent on a unit and revenue basis in the first half of 2014, with LCD TV growth barely compensating for declining shipments of plasma and CRT TVs. However, a continued strong trend of shipment growth in North America continues to be a catalyst, evidenced by LCD TV growth exceeding 12 percent Q3 2014 compared to the prior year.
LCD TV shipments from China rose 9 percent, compared to a soft period a year ago following the end of government subsidies, and despite modest sales results during the Chinese Golden Week of public holidays in the fall. Asia-Pacific region results were also quite strong, led by improved growth in an economically improved India, where more favorable currency valuations are making LCD TVs affordable to a wider group of Indian consumers.
“While the last several years in the TV business have been difficult in terms of overall shipments and revenue, the market is showing some broad resiliency now, with most regions enjoying growth in the third quarter,” said Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research at DisplaySearch.“Consumption for primary TVs is entering a renewed replacement cycle in some key regions, while adoption of larger screen sizes and 4K and other higher resolutions will keep consumers upgrading.”
Although 4K TVs have been available for several years now, shipments in 2014 have significantly accelerated, due to broader competition and more accessible price points activating new consumer groups. Year-over-year 4K TV shipments jumped more than 500 percent in Q3 to top 3 million units, bringing total shipments to 6.4 million units in 2014.
China remains the focal point for 4K TV unit volume growth, accounting for more than 60 percent of global 4K TV shipments in Q3; plus, it has the highest 4K unit shipment mix of any region, at more than 13 percent. With 6 percent of the market, the next strongest region for 4K TV unit shipment mix was Western Europe, which is a significant increase since the beginning of the year.
“With a scarcity of content and streaming options, much of the early success in 4K will rely on education campaigns from brands and price compression allowing for better affordability,” Gagnon said.
China is the leading 4K TV consumer market, and local Chinese brands are now fiercely competing with Samsung, which is aggressively pushing for growth in China and leads all 4K brands in the nation, after debuting a greatly expanded lineup in Q2. In fact, with 36 percent share of the 4K TV shipments, Samsung led the market on a revenue basis globally in Q3. The company significantly outpaces all other brands. Chinese brands have a stronger share, thanks to greater unit volume within China, and a low average price compared to global brands competing in markets outside of China. However, with the arrival of greater competition in North America and other markets, as well as rising 4K TV exports from Chinese brands, competitive price compression will be difficult to avoid for most brands.