The burning issue for both retailers and vendors selling flat panel display is whether the market will continue growing following two interest rate rises and a fall out in the bottom end of the property market. Also set to impact the Australian market is the supply of flat panel TV’s with researchers forcasting a supply shortfall of 10%.
According to the latest GFK figures in week 10 the Australian market was down this followed a soft January and February. Among vendors to witness a softening were both Sony and Samsung.
During December and into January 2008 Sony captured over 40% of the LCD TV market this led to stock shortages during February and into March 08 according to Sony Australia Managing Director Carl Rose. However this problem has been fixed with most mass market retailers now getting stock of Sony LCD TV’s.
Said Rose “The market has gone a bit soft however we now have stock flowing into retailers and this should give us a big lift”.Rose refused to reveal whether Sony were set to mount a major marketing campaign pre the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing China however he did say “Sport is a big sales driver and we have the Olympics on a good time zone for Australia in August as well as the finals of several football codes. This will help sales along this year”.
He also said that there was merit in the claim that the early adopters had already purchased their first flat screen TV and that many early adopters were now coming back for a second or third screen for bedrooms and studies.
“HD is driving a lot of sales and currently we have seen around38% of Australians buy a digital or HD TV. Therefore going forward we may have to do a lot more marketing to convince consumers to invest in a flat screen” he said.
“Consumer who have not purchased because of price and choice are now going to have to make a decision as there is a perception that prices are still falling. However many retailers are calling for a higher average selling price so we could see some stability around price enter the market” he said.
In Australia the problem for many TV vendors is supply with global markets expanding Australia is seen as a small market that comes after the USA, Japan, and Europe.
According to GFK and TV research Company Display Search the market for liquid crystal display televisions is seeing tremendous growth, leaving manufacturers scrambling to secure enough LCD panels.
This is a different story from early last year when LCD manufacturers were struggling from an oversupply of the panels.
According to DisplaySearch, this year’s global LCD TV market is expected to increase 32 percent to 150 million sets from last year’s 79 million.
The sudden demand attributed to the upcoming Beijing Olympics, increased digital broadcasting by TV stations like Ten, Nine and Seven, as well as a steady decline in the price of LCD TVs.
During the next two years according research group iSuppli shipments of LCD TVs will double. This has resulted in TV manufacturers to forecast 12 months out in an effort to get supply. Sony who is currently global leaders has recently cut a deal with both Sharp and Samsung to secure supply. They are forecasting sales of 20 million during the next 12 months.
Korea’s Samsung Electronics, which sold 13 million sets last year, wants to sell 18 million this year, and LG Electronics aims to sell 14 million units which are twice that of last year’s sales.
LG recently made a deal with Japanese company Sharp to purchase 32- and 52-inch LCD panels. And Japan’s Toshiba can’t get enough of Samsung’s LCD panels. Samsung says it is unable to supply more of the panels because it is trying to meet its own demands.
Despite all the deal making it is expected that supply will still fall short of demand by 10 percent this financial year.