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Worldwide TV shipments will shrink by 1.4% in 2012 predicts NPD DisplaySearch in its latest Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, issued in early July.  In the company’s latest update, total TV shipments are forecast to fall to 245M units, while shipments of LCD-TVs are expected to increase by 5% – down from 7% in 2011 – to 216M units.

DisplaySearch attributes the decline in the overall TV market and the slowing growth in the LCD-TV segment to the reduced rate of price declines and cautious spending by consumers in Europe and Asia. Average LCD-TV selling prices are expected to decline by 4% in 2012, compared with 6% in 2011 and 10% in 2010.  Another contribution to declining growth is that the transition to digital broadcasting, which stimulated LCD-TV purchases in major markets over the past few years has largely been completed.

Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research for DisplaySearch, put it this way:  “The worldwide demand for TVs is slower this year as economic uncertainty in many regions and a greater focus on profits by many LCD-TV supply chain members will lead to softer price erosion, which in turn has a direct impact on sales.  However, several key high value segments of the TV business, such as large screen sizes and LED-backlit LCD-TVs, continue to grow.”

There is appreciable growth in China, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and other emerging markets, as well as the Middle East and Africa.  DisplaySearch expects year-to-year growth to reach 8% in 2012, the same rate that was achieved in 2011, and shipments in these markets should continue to grow in the mid-single digits over the next few years.

Overall, LCD-TV is the only TV technology that continues to grow, as LCD continues to take market share from both plasma and (not surprisingly) CRT.  LCD-TVs will account for 88% of total TV shipments worldwide in 2012,

Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

up from 82% in 2012, and should peak at 97% in 2015, after which OLED-TV will start to become a factor.   Plasma TV shipments will fall to about 5% share in 2012, down 26% from 2011 as pricing becomes uncompetitive in some key sizes.  OLED-TV sales will be insignificant in 2012.

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The market share for larger screen sizes continues to increase as prices decrease significantly and some early adopters of flat-panel TV re-enter the market for an upgrade.  The share of TV shipments with screen diagonals of 50 inches or more will increase from 6.5% last year to 7.7% in 2012, and reach 10% by 2015, DisplaySearch says.  This will bring the average screen size to 35 inches in 2012, the first time this has happened.  The average screen size sold in North America is expected to top 40 inches in 2013.

The share of LED-lit LCD-TVs should increase to 69% in 2012, compared to just 45% in 2011.  The primary reason for this large growth is the introduction of low-cost direct-LED-lit models that can be priced at a very small premium over CCFL-lit models. Direct-LED-lit LCD-TVs are thicker than edge-lit models, but the lower cost will help move the market away from CCFL.   China, which now constitutes the world’s largest TV market, is encouraging its people to purchase these models because of their greater energy efficiency.

In Western Europe and China, about 30% of TVs shipped are expected to be 3D-ready in 2012, with North American trailing far behind.  DisplaySearch expects year-over-year growth to be 74%, and they try to give that a positive spin, but that large percentage is on a relatively small base.  As always, further growth depends on improved availability and quality of 3D content, and whether increased familiarity with 3D-TV will breed contempt or increase the appetite for more content.

Posted by Pete Putman, July 26, 2012 12:20 PM

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About Pete Putman

Peter Putman is the president of ROAM Consulting L.L.C. His company provides training, marketing communications, and product testing/development services to manufacturers, dealers, and end-users of displays, display interfaces, and related products.

Pete edits and publishes HDTVexpert.com, a Web blog focused on digital TV, HDTV, and display technologies. He is also a columnist for Pro AV magazine, the leading trade publication for commercial AV systems integrators.