Global TV Shipments Rose Only 1% Y/Y as LCD and Plasma TV Unit Growth Each Fell To Single Digits; Signs of Soft Demand and Over-Shipment in Q4’10 Weighing on Early 2011 Results
After a year of solid quarterly shipment growth in 2010, the rate of unit growth slowed significantly in Q1’11 to just 1% Y/Y, according to the latest findings from the DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report. Total shipments were down 29% Q/Q to 55.2M units, a sharper seasonal decline than typical as excessive shipment volume in Q4’10, which rose 15% Y/Y, did not match sell-through growth and led to inventory carry-over from the holiday season in many regions. In addition, a sharp slowdown in growth for Japan, which had seen explosive growth in 2009 and 2010 due to the government incentive program known as Eco-Points, weighed on global results when compared to prior periods. Lagging growth in North America and Western Europe, together with slowing growth rates in China, also played a role.
“As the global TV market recovered from the depths of the Great Recession, TV brands and retailers eager to capture market share lowered prices and demand rebounded,” noted Hisakazu Torii, DisplaySearch Vice President of TV Research. Torii added, “Once the intense competitive pressure to win market share collided with falling prices, it became difficult for many brands to operate profitably, so new features were introduced that slowed price erosion. However, this may have also stifled demand in mature markets that had high flat panel TV penetration.”
LCD TV unit volume grew 32-36% each year from 2008 to 2010, even during the global recession, buoyed by rapidly falling prices and huge growth in China. However, Q1’11 LCD TV shipments only rose 9% Y/Y to 44.3M units, the weakest Y/Y growth ever for LCD TV, and the only quarter with single-digit growth. This is partially due to the fact that shipments grew 50% Y/Y in Q1’10 as many regions increased shipments in anticipation of high demand related to the World Cup soccer tournament.
Plasma TV shipments posted Y/Y growth for the sixth straight quarter in Q1’11, after very weak results in 2009. Total plasma TV units were up 6% Y/Y to 3.65M units. However, there are signs that growth is beginning to slow, especially in Japan and Europe. In addition, the growth in plasma shipments is mostly from HD (720p) resolution models, not from full HD (1080p). This indicates that the value for plasma, and the reason it is doing well to begin with, stems from its low-cost and high value-per-inch. Brands like Panasonic who are focused on 1080p plasma have lost share to brands aiming for volume through HD models, like Samsung and LGE.
China returned as the top region, again, due to the timing of holidays in Q1. However, total TV shipment growth in China fell 2% Y/Y for the third straight quarter as CRT sales continued to plummet and LCD growth fell to around 5% due to softer than expected demand early in the year and some inventory concerns. Japan, North America and Western Europe TV shipment volume fell sharply Q/Q as over-shipment during Q4’10 led to inventory build-up after the holiday season. North America shipments rose 2% Y/Y to 8.4M units, while Western Europe fell 7% Y/Y to 9.3M units, although the first half of 2010 had seen a shipment bubble ahead of the World Cup.
Both developed and emerging markets saw soft annual growth in Q1’11, with total TV shipments rising 0.7% and 0.8% Y/Y, respectively. For just flat panel TVs, however, emerging markets grew 17% Y/Y while developed markets were only up 0.8%, having already completed the transition from CRT to flat panels.
LED Backlight Share Increases to 35% of LCD TV Shipments; 3D Accounts for 4% of Units and 12% of Revenues
LED backlight share continued to grow, expanding from 30% of LCD TV shipments in Q4’10 to 35% in Q1’11. Total LED LCD TV unit shipments increased to 15M units in Q1’11, compared with just 3M units a year earlier. LED popularity is also growing in emerging markets, where premiums are falling quickly. Nearly every region had at least 20% of LCD TV unit shipments coming from LED-backlit models, most of those being edge-lit type. In addition, LED penetration of LCD TV shipments above 40” neared 50%.
Although 3D is a new category, it now accounts for a significant share of total TV revenues, 12% as of Q1’11, and in certain regions the share is much higher. In North America, where penetration is rising rapidly, 3D sets accounted for almost a fifth of total TV revenues and almost a quarter of 40”+ revenues, as new brands quickly enter the 3D category and capture share from established leaders. Overall 3D share is also growing as the technology expands into lower price points, largely through lower frame rate LCD TVs. Where 90% of 3D LCD TV units in Q4’10 were 240Hz or higher frame rate, in Q1’11, a full 36% were either 60Hz or 120Hz, both of which carry much lower costs.
Samsung Remains #1 Global TV Brand, Still Leading in LCD and Rising to #1 in Plasma Units
Samsung was the #1 brand on a revenue basis in almost every region it operated, with the exception of China where domestic brands dominate, and Asia Pacific where LGE led. Samsung also rose to #1 in total worldwide plasma TV unit share, but still trailed Panasonic in total revenues. Samsung’s total flat panel TV revenue share was up slightly, to 22.2%, about the same share as a year ago. In the highly competitive North America market, Samsung continued to trail Vizio in total LCD units, but led in revenues due to a higher share of 40”+ sizes.
LGE was the #2 brand worldwide at 15.0%, up almost two points from last quarter and slightly up in share from a year ago. In terms of revenues, LGE was #2 in LCD TV and #3 in plasma TV, as well as leading CRT TV with more than double the revenue share of any other brand. Sony rounded out the top three brands in global flat panel TV revenues during Q1’11, but saw a sharp decline in share compared with Q4’10 as the drop in Japan volume and loss of share in North America took a toll. Sharp and Panasonic rounded out the top five, trading share positions compared to last quarter.
Samsung was the #1 3D TV global brand overall, accounting for all technologies, with 34% of revenues. Within the 3D LCD TV category, Sony had the top share with 33% of revenues, while Samsung led 3D plasma TV revenues at 45%.
DisplaySearch TV market intelligence, including panel and TV shipments, TV shipments by region, brand, size, resolution, frame rate and backlight type for nearly 60 brands, rolling 16-quarter forecasts, TV cost/price forecasts and design wins can be found in its Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.