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Q1 LCD TV Shipment Growth Slows

Santa Clara, Calif. – The growth rate of global LCD TV shipments
slowed to a new low of just 1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared with
the same period a year ago, according to a market study released by



The DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast
Report  showed total shipments were down
29 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, to 55.2 million units, reflecting
in part a sharper seasonal decline than is typical.

DisplaySearch recorded “excessive shipment volume” in Q4 2010,
which rose 15 percent from the same period in 2009, and did not match
sell-through growth and led to inventory carry-over from the holiday season in
many regions.

In addition, the firm said, a sharp slowdown in growth for Japan,
which had seen explosive growth in 2009 and 2010 due to the government
incentive program known as Eco-Points, weighed on global results when compared with
prior periods.

Lagging growth in North America and Western Europe, together with
slowing growth rates in China, also played a role, according to the report.

“As the global TV market recovered from the depths of the Great
Recession, TV brands and retailers eager to capture market share lowered prices
and demand rebounded,” stated Hisakazu Torii, DisplaySearch TV research VP.
“Once the intense competitive pressure to win market share collided with
falling prices, it became difficult for many brands to operate profitably, so
new features were introduced that slowed price erosion. However, this may have
also stifled demand in mature markets that had high flat-panel TV penetration.”

LCD TV unit volume grew 32 to 36 percent each year from 2008 to
2010, even during the global recession, buoyed by rapidly falling prices and
huge growth in China.

However, Q1 2011 LCD TV shipments only rose 9 percent from Q1 2010
to 44.3 million units, which DisplaySearch said was “the weakest growth ever
for LCD TV,” and the only quarter with single-digit growth.

Other contributing factors for the slowing growth were said to
have been the fact that shipments grew 50 percent in Q1 2010 from a year
earlier as many regions increased shipments in anticipation of high demand
related to the World Cup soccer tournament.

Plasma TV shipments posted growth for the sixth straight quarter
in Q1 2011, after very weak results in 2009, DisplaySearch said.

Total plasma TV units were up 6 percent year to year to 3.65
million units.

However, there are signs that growth is beginning to slow,
especially in Japan and Europe, DisplaySearch said.

The growth in plasma shipments was impacted most directly by
continued strong sales of HD (720p) resolution models, not from FullHD (1080p),
DisplaySearch said.

“This indicates that the value for plasma, and the reason it is
doing well to begin with, stems from its low-cost and high value-per-inch,” the
report states. “Brands like Panasonic who are focused on 1080p plasma have lost
share to brands aiming for volume through HD models, like Samsung and LGE.”

DisplaySearch said the share of LCD shipments with LED
backlighting continued to grow, expanding from 30 percent of LCD TV shipments
in Q4’10 to 35 percent in Q1’11.

Total LED LCD TV unit shipments increased to 15 million units in
Q1’11, compared with just 3 million units a year earlier. LED popularity is
also growing in emerging markets, where premiums are falling quickly.

Nearly every region had at least 20 percent of LCD TV unit
shipments coming from LED-backlit models, most of those being edge-lit type.

In addition, LED penetration of LCD TV shipments larger than 40 inches
neared 50 percent.

Although 3D is a new category, it now accounted for 12 percent of
total TV revenues in the first quarter of the year, DisplaySearch said. In
certain regions the share is much higher.

In North America, where penetration is rising rapidly, 3D sets
accounted for almost a fifth of total TV revenues and almost a quarter of 40-inch-plus
revenues, as new brands quickly enter the 3D category and capture share from
established leaders, DisplaySearch said.

Overall 3D share is also growing as the technology expands into
lower price points, largely through lower-frame-rate LCD TVs. Where 90 percent
of 3D LCD TV units in Q4 2010 were 240Hz or higher frame rates, in Q1 2011, a
full 36 percent were either 60Hz or 120Hz, both of which carry much lower

As for global market share by brand, Samsung  continued to rank No. 1 in share of both LCD,
which it has maintained for a while, and also in plasma, capturing the top spot
from Panasonic, which had long been the category kingpin. However, Samsung
still trailed Panasonic in total revenue in the category.

DisplaySearch said Samsung was the No. 1 brand on a revenue basis
in almost every region it operated, with the exception of China where domestic
brands dominate, and Asia Pacific where LGE led.

Samsung’s total flat-panel TV revenue share was up slightly, to
22.2 percent, about the same share as a year ago.

In North America, Samsung ranked No. 2 to Vizio in total LCD
units, but led in revenues due to a higher share of 40-inch-plus screen sizes.

LGE was the No. 2 brand worldwide at 15 percent, up almost two
points from last quarter and slightly up in share from a year ago.

In terms of revenues, LGE was No. 2 in LCD TV and No. 3 in plasma
TV, as well as leading CRT TV with more than double the revenue share of any
other brand.

Sony rounded out the top three brands in global flat-panel TV
revenues during Q1 2011, but saw a sharp decline in share compared with Q4 2010
as the drop in Japan volume and loss of share in North America took a toll,
DisplaySearch said.

Sharp and Panasonic rounded out the top five, trading share
positions compared with last quarter.

Samsung was also No. 1 in global 3D TV shipments overall,
accounting for all technologies, with 34 percent of revenues. Within the 3D LCD
TV category, Sony had the top share with 33 percent of revenues, while Samsung
led 3D plasma TV revenues, at 45 percent.