Global TV shipments fell by 6.3% to 238.5 million units last year, according to figures compiled by IHS iSuppli for its Worldwide Television Market Tracker report.
According to IHS iSuppli, shipments are not expected to recover their 2011 level until 2015, when they will amount to 253.1 million units.
The decline follows a 2011 when growth in shipments fell to 1% from 11.6% in 2010. The reversal in fortune for TV manufacturers is attributed in part to the end of the replacement cycle for CRT sets and the completion of digital switchover in western Europe, combined with the impact of the economic crisis. However, while the North American and western European regions in 2012 both experienced significant shipment declines, the biggest fall was in Japan, where shipments fell by 13.5 million units. This was due to end the end of a subsidy programme for energy-efficient products, which helped boost the number of TV sets sold between 2009-11 by about 25 million.
IHS iSuppli expects the market to recover from 2014 thanks to the impact of the football World Cup in Latin America, continued growth in China, and the emergence of affordable versions of new technologies such as ultra-high definition and OLED screens.
“Television shipments in 2012 declined for the first time for more than a decade, sounding the coda for the flat-panel replacement wave that deluged the business throughout the 2000s,” said Tom Morrod, TV systems analyst at IHS.
“This event marked a fundamental change in the growth trajectory of the market, with flat or minimal increases in shipments expected in the coming years – a sharp contrast to the double-digit increases seen prior to 2010. While some specific events contributed to the downturn of 2012, such as the fall of sales to the Japanese market, the decline reflects a fundamental slowdown in the television market, with [LCD TV] shipments falling for the first time ever. Although television shipments will stabilise in 2013 and growth will return in 2014, developed markets have become saturated with flat-panel televisions.”