Global LCD TV shipments fall for the first time in Q1’12

“Soft demand and cautious expectations about the upcoming year in many parts of the TV supply chain have led to a slowdown in shipments,” said Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch Director of North America TV Research. Gagnon added, “Key component prices, such as LCD panels, are not expected to decline much in 2012, and many brands are concentrating on improving their bottom line. Both of these trends will contribute to slowing unit volume among a price conscious consumer market.”

LCD TV shipment share fell slightly from Q4’11, due to a seasonal shift to emerging markets where CRT demand is higher, but is up four percentage points from a year ago, to 84.2%. LCD TV is capturing market share at 40” and larger screen sizes because of a sharp decline in plasma TV demand. The average LCD TV screen size increased 5% Y/Y in Q1’12, passing 35” for the first time, with gains in both emerging and developed markets. The share of LCD TVs with LED backlights also rose sharply, from 51% in Q4’11 to almost 56% in Q1’12, 20 percentage points higher than a year ago because more affordable direct-type LED-backlit sets began shipping in Q1’12.

Plasma TV unit shipments continued to decline, falling 18% Y/Y in Q1’12 after an 8% decline in Q4’11. The popularity of plasma TV among consumers is waning, and a large majority of the recent shipment volume remains centred on low-priced 2D HD models, indicating consumers are buying on price when shopping for plasma.

Despite the weak results on a unit basis, demand for larger sizes continues to grow. The market share for 40” and larger TVs increased from just under 31% a year ago to more than 37% in Q1’12 with total unit shipments for 40”+ rising 12% Y/Y. Larger sizes have become much more affordable with 40-44” LCD TV average prices below $600 and new 50” LCD TVs selling for less than $1000, joining 50”-class plasma TVs that have been selling for less than $700 for several quarters now.

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