Shelf share for Ultra HDTVs has grown rapidly over the past two years, resulting in current placements accounting for 22 percent of the market, up from just 1 percent at the same time in 2013, according to research from Gap Intelligence.
Notably, the increase in Ultra HDTV placements comes at the expense of 1080p models, not the low-resolution 720p TVs. There are two factors contributing to this distinction. First, Ultra HD resolution cannot be appreciated at smaller screen sizes, where 720p TVs are most prevalent. Second, Ultra HD TVs make up most manufacturers’ high-end flagship TV series, which used to be populated by full 1080p HD models. For now, TV manufacturers offer a range of Ultra HD TVs, followed by fewer 1080p models than they used to, leaving small-screen 720p TVs alone for the time being.
Samsung currently has the greatest number of Ultra HD TV options in its 2015 lineup, so it should come as no surprise that the brand makes up the largest percentage of the retail market. With 50 percent of all Ultra HD TV placements in retail, Samsung dominates the market with a range of both high-end SUHD TVs and affordable, entry-level UHD models. LG also offers a large number of Ultra HD TV options, but the brand’s retail placements capture a market share of 21 percent, far below Samsung. Samsung’s marketing efforts are pervasive, combining advertising across multiple platforms as well as in-store displays and educational materials.
Retail prices for Ultra HD TVs have dropped steadily over the past two years, with entry-level models reaching pricing levels previously seen for high-end 1080p TVs. The most volatility comes from Ultra HD models sized 80 inches and larger, which features TVs sized up to 98 inches. Because of the range of screen sizes and the sometimes erratic availability of such large models in retail, UHD TVs sized larger than 80 inches seem unable to reach a consensus on price.