Demand For Large TV’s Growing But Not For Chinese Brands

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Australian Retailers of flat panel TV’s are starting to see an increase in demand for TV’s above 50″ with GFK reporting that sales are up 5% during the last quarter.

According to JB Hi Fi consumers are ditching their five year old flat panel TV’s in favour of new larger models that are lighter, IP enabled and have wireless and Smart TV features built in. 

Globally worldwide shipments of flat-panel televisions rose convincingly in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. 

The 3.3% rise in demand was stronger-than-expected with the market set to grow further in the last two quarters as new 4K models hit the market. 

While Samsung is betting on Curved TV’s the likes of Sony, LG and Panasonic are betting that consumers will move to 60″ and 65″ 4K TV’s that come with a normal TV display screen. 

According to IHS Technology (IHS). The market for LCD TV was particularly robust, climbing 4 percent from January to March this year to 47.36 million units. 

And despite a 16 percent decline to 2 million units for global plasma display panel TVs – which are on their way out- total flat-panel TV shipments in the first quarter remained up by 3.3 percent to 49.36 million units. 

“LCD TV shipments had expanded in the first quarter of 2013 because of a decline in the market during the same time in 2012, so in that sense growth last year was almost to be expected,” said Jusy Hong, consumer devices principal analyst at IHS.

Hong said that LCD TV shipments for 2014 could grow by 4 percent or even higher as consumers look to upgrade to a larger and feature rich TV. 

Among flat-panel TV manufacturers Samsung and LG performed the best during the first quarter, with Japanese brands Sony and Panasonic holding up well. 

The big losers were Chinese brands like TCL and Changhong whose products are seen as being at the bottom end of the quality scale.  

Samsung and LG with 17 million units between them, continued to be the top TV brands.

Tear-on-year shipment growth for these two Companies was higher than 10 percent for each of the three months in the first quarter – a distinction unmatched by any other group, including American- and European-based manufacturers. 

The Koreans’ growth can be attributed to an increased push in LCD TV shipments while they pull out of the plasma business. 

Samsung is currently scaling back sharply on plasma TV shipments, and it is preparing to relaunch high-definition LCD TVs in the new size range of 40 inches and 48 inches to replace 43- and 51-inch plasmas. 

Almost 100 percent of 40-inch and larger LCD TVs are FullHD models. 

For their part, Japanese brands including Sharp, Sony and Panasonic scored during the period by boosting shipments before the Japanese consumption tax was increased from 5 percent to 8 percent. If the Japanese market now cools because of the tax, Japanese TV makers will likely have to reduce flat-panel shipments to the local market in the second quarter, IHS said.

The big loser has been Chinese TV brands which are seen by consumers as being “inferior” to the Japanese and Korean designed brands. 

Chinese TV makers saw shipments shrink every month in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2013.

In an effort to grow sales Chinese TV brands that include Hisense are looking to release a number of new models in the coming months, including Ultra HD, OLED and curved TV sets. 

HIS said that the global TV industry is also seeing renewed demand for TV sets coming from the developed markets, which are nearly saturated with flat-panel TVs. 

The rejuvenated interest could likely be coming from the release of new sets, including Ultra HD models that boast four times the resolution of HD 1080p sets.
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