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Study: UHD TV Shows Slow, Steady Growth

El Segundo, Calif. — Global penetration of Ultra HD TVs continued to show slow and steady growth at the end of May, but is expected to tally larger numbers through the balance of year as manufacturers step up marketing efforts, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

The report, which was announced Wednesday, showed that over the first five months of the year, Ultra HD TV shipments in many countries remained a small percentage of the overall LCD TV business, due largely to still high price points.

Shipment share of Ultra HD TVs among the top 13 worldwide brands of LCD TV makers was 5 percent in May, up from 4 percent in April, 3 percent in March and 2 percent in February, the market study found.

IHS said that since September 2013, when the market was already at 2 percent, Ultra HD growth “hasn’t budged much.”

According to the study, the top 13 brands account for more than 75 percent of total LCD TV shipments and also represent over 90 percent of overall Ultra HD LCD TV shipments.

But IHS projects global Ultra HD TV shipments will grow to 14.5 million units this year, up from just 2 million in 2013, as global brands deploy aggressive marketing efforts and roll out new models.

In comparison, overall global flat-panel television shipments amounted to 18.1 million units in May, down 6.4 percent from April but up 7 percent from the same time a year ago. Of the total, LCD TVs — including Ultra HD sets — accounted for 17.4 million units, with plasma TVs making up the remainder at 708,000 units.

“Growth in this year’s global UHD TV market is a reflection of plans among TV makers, especially the Chinese, to increase sales. And expansion in UHD TV volume is mostly scheduled for the second half this year,” noted Jusy Hong, IHS consumer devices principal analyst. “In China, for instance, the share of UHD TVs continues to stay below 10 percent despite vigorous promotion by brands because high UHD TV pricing acts as a barrier for wider acceptance.”

Although China is the largest TV market, Hong said similar observations apply to other top TV markets in the world, but TV makers are now planning more aggressive Ultra HD promotions to boost penetration.

Among Ultra HD TV makers in May, the Chinese had the largest proportion of Ultra HD TV shipments in relation to total LCD TVs, at 9 percent, followed by South Korea at 5 percent and by Japan at 2 percent.

South Korean manufacturers led by the world’s two largest TV makers — Samsung and LG Electronics — shipped more Ultra HD TVs than any other region.

The two South Korean brands accounted for 46 percent of total Ultra HD TV shipments in May, compared to a combined total of 45 percent for the top six Chinese manufacturers —Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Konka, Skyworth and TCL.

According to IHS: “Chinese TV brands are popular in their own country but not overseas, and the challenge facing them if they wish to increase global market share is to boost quality, not just rely on lower pricing.”

More data is available in the full report, “TV Systems Databases: Monthly TV Shipments – June 2014,” from IHS Technology.