According to a new report from research house Omdia, global TV set shipments in the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled 68.6 million, a 1.5% increase from the same period in 2018. A positive quarter helped the market to expand by 0.7% in 2019.
Paul Gray, research director at Omdia, said: “If there ever was a year that the television market would be expected to suffer a decline, it would be 2019, when the global industry faced a range of business, economic and trade challenges. TV makers in 2019 contended with major issues including trade tariffs and weak demand from important regions. Despite that, some TV makers managed to find growth by capitalising on low LCD panel prices and tapping into new regions.”
China had a poor year in 2019, with shipments down 1.4 million units to total 53.1 million. Omdia said that the decline was surprising considering that prices fell rapidly in 2019. North America also experienced falling shipments, as TV supply was hit by a US-imposed 15% extra tariff on imports from China.
Gray said: “2019 was dominated by supply issues. ‘In the first half of the year, brands undertook actions to ship televisions into the United States before the imposition of tariffs. In the second half, Chinese TV brands refocused on other regions as US shipments were choked by the tariffs. Europe and Asia-Pacific saw heightened competition as they sought to carve out new business.”
The majority (60%) of sets shipped globally in Q4 were UHD, with that figure rising to almost 70% for Western Europe. North America lead the way in UHD shipments at over 70% while China was third with 63%.
While interest in 8K TVs is rising, it is still in its infancy, reflected by 43,600 units shipped in the last quarter of 2019. The total for 2019 was slightly less than 120,000 units.
Gray said: “Televisions with 8K resolution remain a novelty for consumers, with their high prices and scarcity of content weighing heavily against growth.”
The report lastly examines the positive trends in OLED and QD-LCD TVs, with Q4 growth at 90% for the latter.
Gray concluded: “Rapid price declines for LCD panels represent an existential challenge to OLED displays OLEDs don’t enjoy the same manufacturing cost structure that LCDs have. Meanwhile, Samsung’s QD-LCD technology is allowing the company to compete head-to-head with OLED TVs while capitalising on declining prices for LCD panels.”
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