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Sony Takes LCD TV Lead

Austin, Texas — Sony jumped from fourth to first place in North American LCD TV shipments during the fourth quarter of 2007, according to preliminary findings released by DisplaySearch Wednesday.

In the market research firm’s Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, Sony’s LCD TV share climbed from 9.7 percent, to 12.8 percent, on 83 percent growth from the sequential quarter to reach the top spot in shipments. The achievement was said to be the strongest performance among the top five brands.

Sony was the leading brand in the 40- to 44-inch, 45- to-49-inch and 50- to 54-inch screen size segments, according to the preliminary findings.

DisplaySearch, which is an NPD Group company, attributed the results to a strategic alignment with national big-box retailers who focused on the 40-inch-plus screen sizes and 1080p resolutions during the 2007 holiday selling season.

DisplaySearch said the company also placed greater focus in the period on North America, which accounted for 29.5 percent of global LCD TV shipments for the company.

Samsung moved up to No. 2 at 12.3 percent, a half percent behind Sony as both brands exceeded a million units shipped in the quarter, DisplaySearch said. Samsung was No. 2 behind Sony in the 46- to 47-inch and 52-inch screen size segments. Sharp placed third in each segment.

Vizio, meanwhile, dropped from No. 2 to No. 3, DisplaySearch said, as its unit share remained almost unchanged at 10.7 percent. The company, however, recorded the strongest annual growth of any top five brand during the fourth quarter of 2007 at 250 percent year-to-year, DisplaySearch reported.

Vizio also led in the 37 inch screen size segment, shipping twice as many as LG, which was second.

Sharp fell from No. 1 to No. 4 as its share declined almost 3 points to 8.4 percent. Sharp’s quarter-to-quarter sell-in growth was just 2 percent with year-to-year volume rising 56 percent.

Overall, DisplaySearch said its preliminary totals for LCD TVs rose 38 percent quarter-to-quarter and 64 percent year-to-year to a new record high of 9.1 million units. This was attributed to TV brands incorporating monitor panels in TV products to alleviate TV panel supply tightness.

LCD continued to capture share in the 42- and 50-inch screen size segments from plasma, which took in share from rear-projection TVs above 50 inches.

In plasma TVs, Panasonic continued its lead with a 38.5 percent share on 81 percent quarter-over-quarter growth. On a year-to-year basis, Panasonic’s volume was up only 27 percent due to a strong comparison period.

Though there was year-over-year growth among four of the top five brands, several brands that support both flat-panel TV technologies have shifted emphasis to LCD, causing the overall plasma TV business to rise only 6 percent year-over- year in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 1.2 million units.

Samsung, meanwhile, remained at No. 2 after gaining a point of share to over 20 percent, on 46 percent quarter-over-quarter and 34 percent year-over-year growth.

LG remained in third place, ahead of Hitachi, with a slight increase in unit share to 13.7 percent, DisplaySearch said. LG reintroduced 32 inches to the North American market during the fourth quarter; the last time it had been shipped was in the first quarter of 2005.

Panasonic led in the 42-inch and 50-inch and 55- to 58-inch segments, as Pioneer led in the 60-inch and up area.

Samsung, meanwhile, ranked first in combined flat-panel TV shipments in the quarter with 13.1 percent share, up 80 percent year-over-year. This was followed by Sony at 11.2 percent, Vizio at 10 percent, LG at 7.5 percent and Sharp at 7.3 percent.

Table 1: Preliminary Q3‘07 – Q4‘07 North American LCD TV Unit Share and Growth

Table 2: Preliminary Q3‘07 – Q4‘07 North American Plasma TV Unit Share and Growth