LCD demand to grow 7%

Market research specialist GfK says that global demand for LCD-equipped TV sets will grow this year by 7 per cent to some 225 million units, compared with 2011’s 211 million units which was itself an 11 per cent increase on 2010.

GfK says that emerging markets will continue to drive this growth, “which will be offset by sluggish demand across developed regions. Plasma TV demand is forecast to further shrink as LCD TVs become more competitive in the large-size segment.”

LCD TV growth was held back in 2011 by developed markets contracting around 5 per cent, compared to steady expansion previously. Japan proved the most negative influence, with consumer demand varying significantly in response to the Eco Point subsidy being cut in March and the digital switchover in July. Thereafter, unit sales showed significant year-on-year contraction. Unit demand this year, however, is still forecast to come in higher than Japan’s long-term historic average of around 10 million, helped by materially lower retail prices compared to two or three years ago.

Among the other developed regions, Western Europe saw notable reductions last year, culminating in a slow-moving Christmas period, while developed Asia, excluding Japan, showed resilient growth following strong second-half demand. North America was almost flat compared to 2010, with weak first-half demand offset by strong Christmas sales. Looking ahead, these three developed markets combined are expected to show marginal growth of around 4 per cent in 2012.

Emerging markets showed resilience in 2011 with 34 per cent growth on 2010, led by strength in Emerging Asia and Latin America. Brazil in particular, saw high growth as a result of aggressive marketing by manufacturers. In China year-on-year growth, which halved from 2010 to 2011, showed steady recovery late last year, helped by accelerating rural markets demand.

Growth in emerging markets is projected to remain solid in 2012, but decelerate uniformly. LCD TV markets are showing signs of maturing in Central Europe and Latin America, limiting their future growth, while in Emerging Asia demand is projected to grow at the fastest rate worldwide due to the continuing prevalence of CRT TVs.

Some people seem confident that the Olympics Games this year will encourage greater demand as the summer approaches, but historical GfK data in fact shows the Olympics rarely has much impact on end-demand. Potential increases will more likely be seen ahead of the UEFA European Cup being held in the emerging countries of Ukraine and Poland, where consumers are likely to bring forward the replacement of CRT TVs.

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