Portland, Ore. - The fourth quarter of 2011 proved to be a strong one for unit shipments of big-screen televisions of all types, according three fourth-quarter market shipment studies released this week by
In flat-panel LCD TV, Quixel found that unit shipments rose 45 percent overall from the third quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2011, as sales for the year overall rose 4 percent from 2010.
"It was the largest screen size segments that posted the highest unit and value increases in the fourth quarter, as well as from 2010 to 2011," stated Tamaryn Pratt, Quixel Research's principal. "Manufacturers almost made it easy for consumers. The products were widely available and often at crazy low prices, so we saw volume in the 46- to 47-inch and 55-inch size segments almost double quarter to quarter."
Midsized flat-panel LCD TV models remained the core of the category, but the 32-inch screen size segment suffered a minor dip in unit share during Q4 2011, as every size segment 40 inches and larger share for the same time period, Quixel said.
The 60-inch-plus size segment was not the volume leader quarterly or annually, but grew 273 percent from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011 and was up 192 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Total 60-inch-plus unit shipments approached the 1 million unit mark for 2011 as the value for the 60-inch size segment represented more than 11 percent of the total LCD TV category, up from 4 percent in 2010.
The LCD TV category overall saw a 38 percent increase in revenue from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011 and topped $5.6 billion in sales for the quarter, Quixel said. But only the 55-inch and larger segments realized an annualized revenue increase from 2010 to 2011, and the overall LCDTV category declined 8 percent falling to $17.5 billion in 2011 from $19 billion in 2010.
Quixel is forecasting a "soft" business climate for U.S. LCD TV in 2012, as the economy continues to struggle. Quixel is also calling for category shipments to be flat in the near term with very modest growth in 2013 and 2014, at which point the category will start the first round in the flat-TV replacement cycle.
Meanwhile, Quixel Research's "Q4 2011 USA Large Area Display Report (LAD)", which tracks shipments of televisions measuring 40 inches and larger or all types, showed a 69 percent unit shipment increase in the market segment from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011, and a full-year unit shipment increase of 6 percent from 2010.
The LCD TV category led the LAD market in units, rising 65 percent from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011 with a full-year increase of 11 percent from 2010.
However, plasma TV shipments grew a surprising 84 percent in unit volume from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011.
"It is like The Little Engine that Could when describing the plasma TV category," said Pratt. "Plasma TV manufacturers offered up deals in all screen sizes, quite dramatically the 60-inch Black Friday models that dipped below $800 that supported the 370 percent unit increase in the above-60-inch plasma TV segment from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011."
The overall 60-inch-plus segment grew 138 percent from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011, and value was also up, growing 114 percent for the same time period. While still relatively small, the 60-inch-plus screen size segment doubled in volume share from 2010 to 2011, Quixel said.
In factory dollar value, overall LAD revenues hovered just over $5 billion in Q4 2011, or up 49 percent compared with Q3 2011.
Increased volume velocity for 60-inch-plus models in all technologies supported the quarter-to-quarter increase, but aggressive holiday price promotions "demolished any value increase for the year," Quixel said.
The LAD category posted $15.5 billion in sales, declining 5 percent from 2010 to 2011. Large-screen LCD TV values declined 3 percent annually while plasma TV and microdisplay rear-projection TV revenues (Mitsubishi is the only remaining manufacturer) were down 8 percent and 30 percent, respectively, for the same time period, Quixel said
Quixel Research projected growth ahead in the LAD category for 2012.
As for front projectors, Quixel reported a 62 percent increase in unit shipments from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011 and a 3 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010.
Quixel said front-projector models with 3D capability helped drive the growth of the overall category as a number of new lower priced models entered the market. Shipments of 3D front projectors as a category segment were up 240 percent in the fourth quarter.
"3D was a primary driver for the residential projection category, with this feature imbedded in almost 75 percent of the new projectors that shipped in Q4," stated Pratt. "We did see a premium for the 3D feature, which kept HD 1080p 3D priced above $1,000. However, once consumers step to a projector over $1,500, the 3D feature is really minimum table stakes."
The 3D price premium kept values higher quarter to quarter, and 3D model revenues were up 105 percent from Q3 2011 to Q4 2011. As expected, the 3D average selling price fell 40 percent due to the new lower-priced 3D products launched in the fourth quarter 2011.
Overall, the home-theater and entertainment front-projector market posted a healthy 43 percent rise in revenues as the category topped $106 million in sales in Q4 2011, compared with sales of $74 million in Q3 2011.
The volume increase in both HD 1080p and 3D projectors supported full-year factory revenue growth to $330 million in 2011, compared with $289 million in 2010, or an increase of 14 percent.
Quixel Research's "Q4 2011 LCDTV Market Review," "Q4 2011 USA Large Area Display Report (LAD)" and "USA Home Theater and Entertainment Front Projector Market Review for Q4 '11" are available for purchase by contacting