El Segundo, Calif. - TV display market research firm iSuppli released a third-quarter 2009 U.S. TV shipments market tracker report that showed Samsung Electronics retook the No. 1 position in the U.S. LCD TV market from its value-focused rival Vizio.
However, Vizio managed to hold onto to its lead for cumulative LCD TV shipments into the United States throughout the year.
This gave Samsung a 1.1 percentage point lead over U.S.-based Vizio, which held a 15.7 percent share in the third quarter with shipments of 1.2 million LCD-TVs.
The last time Samsung held the top spot in the U.S. LCD TV market was in the fourth quarter of 2008. Vizio in the first and second quarters of 2009 took the lead in the United States as consumers warmed to its low-cost, full-featured sets sold through high-volume retailers like Wal-Mart.
The iSuppli study said Samsung began to regain momentum in the second quarter through its focus on advanced LED-backlit LCD TVs and reduced prices for its high-end sets.
"Samsung is leading the LCD TV industry's adoption of LED backlighting technology," stated Riddhi Patel, iSuppli television systems principal analyst. "The company has been marketing these sets intensely, attracting the interest of U.S. consumers. Consumers like LED-backlit LCD TVs because of their ultra-thin form factors. With Samsung cutting the prices of these sets aggressively, they now are becoming increasingly affordable for a larger number of U.S. consumers."
Vizio, meanwhile, saw unit shipments grow 87 percent from 658,997 in the third quarter of 2008, to 1,234,667 in Q3 2009, iSuppli reported.
Vizio has shipped 4.075 million LCD TV units into the U.S. so far this year, followed by Samsung with 3.894 million, Sony with 2.362 million, LG with 1.739 million and Toshiba with 1.686 million.
"For 2009, Vizio is currently leading the U.S. for LCD TV market based on cumulative quarterly unit shipments and continues to gain consumer attention in part because of its aggressive marketing efforts and its strategy of providing newer technologies at value prices," said Patel.
LED-backlit sets accounted for 3.7 percent of total U.S. LCD TV shipments in the third quarter, up from 2.1 percent in the second, iSuppli said. The United States now leads the world in sales of LCD TVs with LED backlights.
Samsung in October was selling 55-inch LED-backlit LCD TVs for $2,650, just $325 more than for equivalent-sized and featured sets using conventional CCFL backlighting technology, according to the market tracker study.
"This low price point and minimal gap with CCFL sets represents a critical price threshold for LED-backlit sets, making them more acceptable to U.S. consumers," Patel said.
All brands shipped 7.9 million LCD TVs in the United States in the third quarter, up 8.3 percent from 7.3 million in the second quarter.
Most of the top five LCD TV brands in the U.S. saw their shipments and market shares decline in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, as smaller companies increased their sales, iSuppli said. Brands in the third quarter were focused on introducing new models and filling sales channels with new products, causing sales to decrease.
Patel said the fourth quarter is expected to bring stronger shipment growth from aggressive discounts for full-featured LCD-TVs.
Furthermore, retailers are expected to offer attractive deals on product bundles. Such bundles will include LCD TVs sold with Blu-ray players, surround-sound systems, DVRs, game consoles and installation services.
Premium brands such as Samsung, LG and Sony are expected to lead the market with packaged promotions.