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LCD, Plasma TV Shipment Growth Narrows

6 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Shipments of LCD and plasma high-definition televisions increased just 1% in the first quarter as excess supply in the fourth quarter weighed down results, according to a new report.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based DisplaySearch said shipments of LCD TVs — arguably the most popular HDTV model on the market — grew 9% to 44.3 million units, the lowest quarterly unit growth on record for the unit. By comparison, LCD TV unit shipments grew 50% in the first quarter of 2010 as consumer electronics retailers anticipated strong global demand heading into the summer’s World Cup soccer competition.

Plasma TV shipments posted year-over-year growth for the sixth straight quarter after weaker results in 2009. Plasma TV units increased 6% to 3.6 million units.

DisplaySearch said there are signs that plasma TV growth is beginning to slow, especially in Japan and Europe. Growth in plasma shipments is mostly from HD (720p) resolution models, not from full HD (1080p). This indicates that the value for plasma stems from its low-cost and high value-per-inch. Brands like Panasonic, which are focused on 1080p plasma, have lost share to brands aiming for volume through HD models, like Samsung and LG.

Total shipments (including plasma) were down 29% from the fourth quarter to 55.2M units — a sharper seasonal decline than typical as shipment volume in Q4, which rose 15% year-over-year, did not match sellthrough growth projections and led to excess inventory from the holiday season in many regions.

Hisakazu Torii, VP of TV research with DisplaySearch, said the influx of new features, including Internet connectivity and 3D, introduced by CE manufacturers to abate price erosion and operational profitability, also has hurt sales in mature markets.

Indeed, DisplaySearch recently reported that LCD 3D TV shipments increased 104% in the first quarter from the prior year and now make up 3.9% of the market; 3DTVs will achieve 17% market share by fourth quarter 2011.

“This may have also stifled demand in mature markets that had high flat-panel TV penetration,” Torii said.


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