For the full year 2010, Samsung remained No. 1 in total flat-panel TV, although its global share fell by a point from 2009 on growth from LG Electronics as well as increases by Japanese brands due to the strong home market.
The report said that following sharp declines in Q3 2010, global TV shipments rose 15 percent year to year to a record 77.6 million units in Q4.
An improvement in annual growth rate, which had fallen to 9 percent year to year in Q3 2010, was attributed to improved growth in developed markets, particularly North America, which had experienced a substantial slowdown during the first half of the year, DisplaySearch said.
Globally, Samsung was the No. 1 LCD TV brand in Q4 2010, and Panasonic was the No. 1 plasma TV brand.
Meanwhile, DisplaySearch said that by region, Samsung was No. 1 in LCD TV unit share in most markets during 2010.
However, Chinese brands still dominate the domestic China market, and Vizio moved past Samsung on a volume basis for LCD TVs in North America.
China was the only region to decline in Q4 2010, falling 2 percent year to year as a significant decline in CRT TV shipments more than offset growth of LCD and plasma, the report said.
For the first time since Q1 2010, LCD TV had stronger year-to-year growth than plasma TV, as prices for LED-backlit LCD TV models fell a little faster -- increasing LED share to 30 percent for the first time, DisplaySearch said.
Prices for standard CCFL-backlit LCD TVs also fell due to panel price declines. Plasma TV growth continued to be positive, rising 20 percent year to year, although there are signs that the growth rate is starting to slow as LCD TV prices become more competitive at key screen sizes, particularly 42 inches.
Global CRT TV shipments continue to contract at a rate of about 30 percent year to year each quarter, DisplaySearch said.
"Demand for flat-panel TVs remains strong. However, consumers held off on purchases during a very stable pricing period in the first half of 2010," said Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch North America TV research director. "LCD TV panel prices started falling in July, but due to the length of the supply chain, it takes about a quarter for those prices to be realized at retail."
Improving shipment growth in regions like Japan, North America and Western Europe meant the developed regions regained the lead in total flat-panel shipments.
In particular, Japan, a market with very high flat-panel TV household penetration, saw total TV shipments increase more than 100 percent year to year, to more than 10 million units for the first time ever, as consumers rushed to take advantage of the government sponsored Eco-Points program before it ends in early 2011.
Meanwhile, DisplaySearch said it now using a new process for surveying 3DTV shipments, reporting historical data and forecasts on shipments, revenue, and pricing of 3DTVs, broken down by brand, region, technology, size and other features.
The new criteria showed that 3DTVs accounted for about 9 percent of total TV revenues worldwide in Q4 2010, and much more in certain segments, like 40-inch-plus 120Hz LCD TVs, which were nearly 20 percent 3D in Japan, DisplaySearch said.
LED-backlit LCD TVs also continued to grow share, rising to 30 percent of total LCD TV unit shipments for the first time, while 120Hz and higher frame rates accounted for just under a quarter of LCD units.
Global LED premiums dropped from more than 50 percent in Q3 2010 to less than 40 percent in Q4 2010 for 32-inch sets. This has been made possible through improvements in LED component costs and a reduction in the number of LEDs required in a given design due to improved efficiency.
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