According to data compiled by NPD DisplaySearch, worldwide television shipments were down 8 percent in the first quarter, which is the first time happen since the second quarter of 2009. The biggest contributor to this decline was a slowdown in shipments of LCD TVs, which fell year-on-year for the first time in the history of the category, declining just over 3%, to 43 million units.
LCD TV shipment share fell slightly from fourth quarter 2011, due to a seasonal shift to emerging markets where CRT demand is higher, but is up four percentage points from a year ago, to 84.2%. LCD TV is capturing market share at 40-inch and larger screen sizes because of a sharp decline in plasma TV demand.
The average LCD TV screen size increased 5% Y/Y in first quarter 2012. The share of LCD TVs with LED backlights also rose sharply, from 51% in fourth quarter 2011 to almost 56% in first quarter 2012, 20 percentage points higher than a year ago. Despite the weak results on a unit basis, demand for larger sizes continues to grow. The market share for 40-inch and larger TVs increased from just under 31% a year ago to more than 37% in first quarter 2012 with total unit shipments for 40-inch+ rising 12% Y/Y.
Larger sizes have become much more affordable with 40-44-inch LCD TV average prices below $600 and new 50-inch LCD TVs selling for less than $1000, joining 50-inch-class plasma TVs that have been selling for less than $700 for several quarters now. China remains the #1 region for TV shipments at 20% of all units shipped during the quarter, down very slightly from the previous quarter. Flat panel TVs are starting to saturate China’s higher-income urban markets. Asia Pacific (which includes India, Korea, and Australia) was the #2 region for TV shipments, followed by North America and Western Europe.
3D shipment share continues to grow, albeit more slowly in recent quarters, rising to just over 14% of total TV shipments and 16% of flat panel TV shipments. Demand for 3D in emerging regions is actually higher than in developed regions, with 16% of flat panel TV units shipped to emerging markets in first quarter 2012 compared to 15% among developed regions.
Samsung’s global flat panel TV revenue share remained around 26%, near record levels and was the only one of the top five flat panel TV brands on a revenue basis to show Y/Y growth during first quarter 2012. Samsung also was the top brand in the key segments of LCD TV, 40-inch+, LED-backlit LCD, and 3D TV.
LGE was the #2 brand and showed a significant improvement in market share, rising more than a percentage point to 14.6% revenue share. Sony rounded out the top flat panel TVs on a revenue basis, but posted a large drop in Y/Y revenues along with fellow Japanese brand Panasonic.