Santa Clara, Calif. - A new NPD Group/DisplaySearch global TV forecast is predicting worldwide TV shipments to stay flat for the second straight year, as U.S. volume continues to drop.
The market research firm said that 2012 shipments to developed countries, including Western Europe and Japan, will drop 11 percent year to year, offsetting an 8 percent growth rate in shipments to emerging markets, including China.
"Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report" said growth is projected to continue for the LCD TV market as it captures market share from declining CRT and plasma technologies.
"Consumers are continuing to spend cautiously in developed regions, especially in countries with high rates of flat-panel TV penetration, so price differences can have a strong impact and LCD is expected to continue narrowing the price gap with plasma," stated Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch North American TV market director. "In addition, many brands are taking a more conservative approach, focusing on profits over volume at all costs, so the rate of price erosion is not expected to be as strong as in previous years, which may have some impact on demand."
As a technology segment, global LCD TV shipments continue to see growth, taking share from both CRT and plasma technologies. LCD TVs are expected to account for more than 88.5 percent of total TV shipments worldwide in 2012, up from 82.5 percent in 2011, and rising to more than 90 percent by next year.
Plasma TV, on the other hand, will account for just 5.3 percent of shipment volume in 2012 after peaking at about 7.4 percent in 2010.
LCD TV shipments will grow 7 percent to 220 million in 2012, and rise to 241 million in 2013.
Plasma TV shipments will fall 24 percent in 2012 to 13.1 million, dropping to less than 3 million by 2015.
The newest flat-panel TV technology, OLED, will debut in large sizes in 2012, but volume will be very small, just 50,000 units or less, DisplaySearch said.
In addition to growth in flat-panel TV share, larger sizes continue to increase their share, lifting the average size of TVs shipped to almost 35 inches in 2012, from less than 30 inches just four years ago.
DisplaySearch said the growing number of larger factories used to produce LCD TV panels has helped the average area price to fall rapidly.
The firm explained that in developed markets, this is important because it encourages existing flat-panel TV households to trade up to a larger size, driving a new replacement wave, and it also lowers barriers to first-time adoption in emerging markets when converting from CRT TVs.
The share of LED backlight LCD TVs is expected to increase to 70.1 percent in 2012, up from 45.3 percent in 2011. The increase was attributed to the introduction of low-cost direct-LED backlight models with smaller premiums over CCFL backlit models.
New direct-lit LED models are bulkier than edge-lit models, but the lower premium will attract the most price-sensitive consumers.
Five times as many edge-lit LED backlight LCD TVs will be shipped than direct-lit models, and the premiums for edge-lit LED LCD TVs are expected to start falling faster later in the year, DisplaySearch said.
3DTV shipments, meanwhile, are also growing, despite a soft start in North America. The 3D is proving a popular feature in other regions, helping to drive shipments of more than 24 million units in 2011 and an anticipated 90 percent increase in 2012 to 46 million units.
Shipment penetration is expected to exceed 25 percent in both Western Europe and China and 20 percent in Eastern Europe.
While North America is still expected to lag with 19 percent penetration in 2012, it should be the leading 3D shipment region by 2014, when most large screen sizes will include 3D capability as a standard feature and North America will be the top region for 40-inch and larger TV shipments.
DisplaySearch said China became the largest overall TV market in 2009 and the largest LCD TV market in 2011.
However, with household flat-panel TV penetration reaching high levels in urban areas, growth is expected to slow until rural cities start seeing increased adoption, the report said.
LCD TV shipments are forecast to grow 11 percent year to year in China during 2012, down from 17 percent year to year growth in 2011.
Some of the first evidence of this slowdown was seen in recent May Day holiday sales results in China.
According to Bing Zhang, NPD DisplaySearch China market research director, "Analysis of sales during the recent May Day holidays in China indicates that sell-through was below expectations with low- to mid-single-digit growth and slightly elevated inventories after the end of the holiday."
The full "
" is available now and includes TV shipments by region and by size for nearly 60 brands, and also includes rolling 16-quarter forecasts, TV cost/price forecasts and design wins.