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Samsung, Sony Claim NPD Victories

New York — Market research firm The NPD Group has released its final retail-tracking market share numbers for video displays in 2006 showing Sony and Samsung taking leadership positions in multiple market segments, while Panasonic was the top-ranking plasma brand.

“In overall total digital television units, Samsung was the No. 1 unit market share leader in the United States. We were the No. 1 market share leader in total flat panel [plasma and LCD combined] in both units and dollars, and we were No. 1 in LCD for units,” said John Revie, Samsung visual display marketing senior VP. “In percentage terms, NPD retail sales tracking data shows that Samsung had 20 percent of all digital television technologies in units, for the No. 1 ranking. In LCD 10 inches and larger we were No. 1 with a 15.1 percent unit market share, and in combined flat-panel displays we were No. 1 with 16 percent on a unit basis and 20.4 percent on a dollar basis.”

Revie said Samsung had an outstanding second-half performance in 2006, starting with the launch of its new lines in the May-June time period through December.

“We had great acceptance of our product lines and our sell-through accelerated greatly throughout the second half of 2006,” observed Revie, adding “we were No. 1 for seven months in a row.”

Revie pointed to Samsung’s No. 1 market share position in units and dollars in combined flat-panel sales as being especially significant since, “that is the growth area of the business, and largely that was driven by our new designs. We think or styling designs changed how the industry’s manufacturers go to market.”

Meanwhile, Sony laid claim to the top spot as the “best selling big-screen TV manufacturer in screen sizes 32 inches and larger in 2006” behind its combined lines of BRAVIA flat-panel LCD TVs and its Grand Wega microdisplay rear-projection TVs.

Sony also claimed the title as 2006’s “top overall TV industry manufacturer in total dollars and units,” according to NPD.

Specifically, in total television, Sony held more than 24 percent of the industry’s dollar share, which was 20 percent in total dollar volume ahead of the next closest competitor, according to a Sony statement. Sony edged out the competition in total TV unit share for the category.

In microdisplay, Sony topped the industry with a dollar share of more than 44 percent and a unit share of 42 percent of the entire category. Sony said those numbers were “nearly 80 percent greater in dollars and more than 50 percent greater in units than the nearest competitor.”

The company also took the top dollar share spot for the entire LCD category with close to 29 percent, which was 34 percent ahead of the nearest competitor in total dollar volume, Sony said.

“Consumers ultimately decide the TV of choice and that TV is a Sony,” said Randy Waynick, senior VP of Sony’s home products division. “There’s plenty of competition from new and established brands in the market, but the numbers confirm that performance and quality rank highest with consumers. When considering the purchase of their primary television, 32-inches or larger, Sony is clearly America’s favorite.”

Stephen Baker, NPD industry analysis VP, said both companies had extraordinary performances in a very strong growth year for the television category.

“If you were in the flat-panel TV business in 2006, you had a good year. Sales were very strong all around, and if you didn’t have a good year, you probably need to rethink your strategies,” said Baker. “Both Sony and Samsung had very strong positions in different ways. Sony continues to be a leading premium price brand and Samsung is a brand that has a breadth of product that really no other TV brand can match in both breadth and volume. They are strong in large screen and some of the smaller screens as well.”

NPD also reported that Panasonic was the top brand in plasma TV sales in both unit and dollar volume. Panasonic held 33.3 percent of plasma unit volume and 31 percent of the category’s dollar volume, NPD said.