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DisplaySearch: TV Shipments Still Growing

Austin, Texas – Shipments of flat-panel TVs in North America reached more than 10 million units in the third quarter, up 6 percent quarter to quarter and 12 percent year to year, according to preliminary findings in DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report released Tuesday.

Flat panel shipments in North America were up 21 percent year-to-year over the previous six months.

However, the research firm said: “when looking at combined flat-panel TV shipments, it is clear that growth is slowing down. During the previous six quarters, growth was at least 41 percent year to year on a unit basis and only one quarter had less than 50 percent growth.

“However, combined flat-panel TV shipments in North America were up only 21 percent year to year, as cracks began to appear in discretionary consumer spending and competition from ultra-low priced CRT sets at the smallest sizes ate into LCD sales growth.”

Across all TV technologies, under-40-inch-models saw the second straight quarter of year-to-year growth after declines the previous five quarters. The 40 inch-plus segment slowed to its lowest growth rate in over two years as consumers saved money by shifting their purchase from larger to smaller screen sizes in greater numbers, DisplaySearch said.

LCD and plasma shipments showed the strongest results in the study, rising 21 percent (8 million units) and 20 percent to over 1 million units year to year, respectively.

32-inch LCD shipments were again the most popular screen size, rising 15 percent quarter-to-quarter to 2.4 million units. Demand was spurred in part by pricing that dropped below $500 by some brands towards the end of the quarter.

The research firm said smaller LCD sizes saw better quarter-to-quarter growth than larger sizes with the under 40 inch segmetn growing 7 percent quarter to quarter and 40 inches and larger rising just 3 percent, partially due to increased competition from plasma at 40 inches and over. However, 40-inch-plus sizes continued to demonstrate the strongest growth on a year to year basis, rising 31 percent.

DisplaySearch credited the return of the 32-inch screen size in the plasma category with generating continued growth for the display technology in the period.

Rear projection TVs declined more than 50 percent year to year in the period.

On a brand basis, Samsung continued to perform well, taking No. 1 with 19.3 percent of overall television display units, as well as in LCD TVs and in rear projection TVs. It earned second place in plasma, following Panasonic. Samsung’s LCD unit share was up nearly 19 percent on 111 percent year-over-year growth.

Sony ranked second in combined flat-panel share at 12.3 percent, getting a 2-point gain from the second quarter on 73 percent year to year growth.

Sharp had the strongest quarter-to-quarter growth at 41 percent, picking up more than 2 points of unit share to 9.0 percent.

Table 1: Preliminary Q2’08 – Q3’08NAFlat Panel TV Unit Share and Growth

Table 2: Preliminary Q2’08 – Q3’08NALCD TV Unit Share and Growth

Table 3: Preliminary Q2’08 – Q3’08NAPlasma TV Unit Share and Growth