Report: Slower Q3 Stacks Up TV Inventory

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The pace of global TV shipment growth slowed to 9 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2010, after months of 20 percent-plus gains, according to the recently released DisplaySearch Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.

Global shipments of 59.8 million were a little better than expected in the period, “but it was apparent by the end of the quarter that continued sell-through weakness in North America and softer sell-through of TVs during the World Cup in Western Europe have led to increased finished TV set inventory,” the market research firm stated.

In the period, North America returned to positive yearto- year LCD shipment growth after a small decline in the previous quarter, although at 3 percent, the increase was not strong, DisplaySearch observed.

Most TV technologies saw positive year-to-year growth in the period. Global plasma TV shipments were up by 35 percent year to year to more than 4.8 million units. LCD TV shipments also posted positive growth, rising 22 percent year to year to 45.7 million units.

DLP rear-projection TVs, which are sold only in North America, posted positive annual growth in the third quarter of 2010 as consumers concentrate on value during the slow economic recovery.

LCD TV panel prices remained steady during the first half of the year, which translated to relatively stable retail prices, at the same time shipments of higher-priced LEDbacklit models increased.

Plasma TVs enjoyed an increasing price advantage this year at comparable sizes. This resulted in 39 percent yearto- year plasma TV unit growth in North America during the first three quarters of 2010, while 40-inch and larger LCD TV units have risen just 16 percent during the same time period, DisplaySearch said.

Still, it was the weakest quarter of annual shipment growth since the fourth quarter of 2008, when the global economic downturn first began to impact global TV spending, according to the report.

“Consumers are clearly focusing on value right now, which is one of the reasons why plasma TV growth has been so strong this year after a 1.5 percent global shipment decline in 2009,” stated Hisakazu Torii, Display- Search TV research president.

LED backlit panels continued to gain share in LCD TV shipments.

After more than doubling in the second quarter, the share of LED LCD TV shipments increased just 5 percentage points, to 23 percent, in the third quarter, impacted to a degree by the significant price premium over CCFL models during the economic malaise.

In North America, the LED share stopped growing during the third quarter, remaining at 21 percent, according to the report. However, the price premium for LED-backlit LCD TV panels is falling quickly, which should help to shave the price gap in the fourth quarter.

DisplaySearch said that on a global basis the marketshare rankings of the top five flat-panel TV brands remained unchanged in the quarter, with Samsung ranking No. 1 overall, behind a top position in LCD and a No. 2 rank in plasma.

Samsung was No. 1 by revenue in every region except China, where domestic brands prevailed.

Samsung fell to No. 2 in LCD TVs on a unit basis in North America where surging shipments lifted Vizio into the No. 1 position.

Samsung’s global TV market share, on a revenue basis, fell about 3 percentage points in the third quarter to 21.3 percent, mainly as a result of share growth by competitors outside the top four.

LG was the No. 2 brand worldwide at 14 percent, down a point from the second quarter 2010.

LGE was No. 3 in both LCD and plasma TV revenues, DisplaySearch revealed.

Sony rounded out the top three brands in global flat-panel TV revenues during the period, also falling by a percentage point to 11.3 percent, but posting stronger year-to-year revenue growth than either LGE or Samsung.

Only Sharp had stronger annual TV revenue growth, based on strong growth in Japan, where Sharp is No. 1. Panasonic was the No. 1 plasma TV brand and No. 4 flat-panel brand overall.


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