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Global Flat-Panel TV Sales Decline In July: IHS

El Segundo, Calif. — In a sign that the global flat-panel TV market likely will not see growth in 2013, a new study from IHS said shipments of flat-panel televisions fell for the second month in row in July on a worldwide basis compared with the same period year ago.

The combined global shipments in July of LCD and plasma TVs amounted to 14.88 million units, down 6.3 percent from July 2012, according to the “Monthly Worldwide FPD TV Shipment Data Report” from the TV Systems Intelligence Service at IHS.

LCD TVs, which account for the bulk of the global flat-panel TV space, posted a 5.7 percent year-on-year decline based on shipments of 14.1 million units.

Plasma TVs, making up the remainder of the flat-panel TV market with shipments of 781,000, contracted 15.8 percent from the same time last year.

IHS said the downturn in July “was a repeat of what had happened in June, and the downward trend is unlikely to turn around soon given the ongoing reduction in demand.”

Companies remain conservative in their outlook for the next few months until the end of the year when shipments are expected to bounce back, in line with the traditional sales bump anticipated during the holiday season, the firm said.

Overall, IHS continued, monthly shipments will continue to be smaller than their comparable months in 2012 until October, a development with ominous undertones.

“Last year was the first time that global flat-panel TV shipments failed to grow, following a decade of blockbuster expansion and runaway success,” said Jusy Hong, consumer electronics and technology senior analyst at IHS. “This year as recently as May, it appeared that the flat-panel TV market might pull off a rebound even if growth would have been marginal at less than 1 percent. However, with any increase unlikely to take place even in the fourth quarter, it appears more likely that TV shipments will post another year of decline in 2013. If so, this would make it the second year in a row that flat-panel TV shipments retrench — an unthinkable prospect just a few years back, during the flat-panel boom.”

TV panels featuring LED backlighting technology now make up 95 percent of shipments.

As a result, the Chinese manufacturers that are prominent players in the business have altogether stopped producing CCFL panels typical of earlier-generation LCD TV displays, IHS said.

The South Koreans and Japanese are likely to follow suit before the year closes, so that only low-level manufacturers will be left in the CCFL trade.

As a result, LED-backlit LCD TVs now show little differentiation among panel types.

IHS said Chinese TV brands as a group enjoyed the best performance in July, posting a slight growth in global shipments for the month and gaining market share as a result.

The combined share of six major Chinese TV brands—  Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Konka, Skyworth and TCL — rose 5 percentage points to 20.4 percent, up from 15.5 percent in June.

At the same time, the share of rival South Korean and Japanese brands slipped by 2 percentage points in the period, with South Korea’s Samsung and LG maintaining their positions at the top.

Samsung held onto the No. 1 TV position with 19 percent share of shipments, followed by LG Electronics with 14 percent, IHS said.

Sony and TCL tied at No. 3, with each showing 6 percent share. Toshiba and Hisense of China were also tied at fourth spot, each with 5 percent.

A tie for fifth place was also turned in by Sharp, Panasonic and China’s Skyworth.

IHS said the top three Chinese brands as a whole are expected to maintain their strong presence and will likely outdo their Japanese rivals by the end of the year.