El Segundo, Calif. - Second-ranked LCD TV manufacturer Vizio narrowed the gap between top-ranked Samsung in the second quarter of 2010, according to a new iSuppli study released Wednesday.
The market research firm said Samsung managed to keep just a 0.7 percentage point lead over No. 2-ranked Vizio in the period for U.S. LCD TV shipments to dealers.
This compared with a gap of 1.3 points between the two brands in the first quarter. Both companies in the second quarter dramatically outperformed the overall market by offering sets with advanced features desired by U.S. consumers
"Leadership in the world's largest television market -- the United States -- represents the marquee position for global LCD TV brands," stated Riddhi Patel, iSuppli TV market analyst. "Because of this, companies are competing intensely to secure every point of market share -- with the most closely fought battle occurring between South Korea's Samsung and U.S.-based Vizio. The two companies have swapped quarterly leadership multiple times during the past few years, and now are virtually tied in the race for market leadership."
U.S. LCD TV shipments rose by 12.8 percent in the second quarter to 7.36 million units, up from 6.53 million in the first quarter, iSuppli said.
Samsung's shipments grew at more than twice the pace of the overall market, rising by 26 percent to 1.45 million units, up from 1.15 million in the first quarter. Vizio grew by an industry-leading 30.8 percent to 1.39 million units, up from 1.07 million in the first quarter, according to the report.
In the past, the two companies pursued very different strategies to attain LCD TV market leadership, with Samsung focusing on premium products and Vizio stressing low-cost value-oriented LCD TVs. However, as U.S. consumer preferences have shifted to higher-end LCD TVs, Vizio has realigned its product line to offer more advanced features.
Q2 U.S. LCD TV Market Share
(Unit Shipments in thousands)
"Most LCD TVs purchased in the United States in 2010 are replacements of first-generation flat panels," Patel said. "Because of this, U.S. consumers are more informed and demand larger LCD TVs with better picture quality and more premium features, including 3D, LED backlighting and built-in Internet connectivity. While Samsung continues to lead these technological trends, including the nascent 3D TV segment, Vizio has significantly closed the feature gap."
To qualify the trend, the market research firm pointed to its U.S. TV Consumer Preference Analysis service, which surveyed consumers in the period, showing that 17.2 percent said they had purchased LCD TVs with LED backlighting, an increase of 5 percentage points from the first quarter. In addition, 60.8 percent of the consumers purchased a 40-inch or larger set in the second quarter of 2010, up from 51 percent during the same period in 2009. Nearly 32 percent of consumers said they connected their new televisions to the Internet.
While LCD TV sales continued to rise in the second quarter, some concerns have arisen regarding the third-quarter inventory, iSuppli's electronic display market research indicates.
"Given the rising average prices for LCD TVs, consumers have become more cautious in their spending," Patel said. "As a result, higher-than-acceptable levels of inventory have built up in the channel, which could lead to a slower-than-expected third quarter."