TV shipments fall for first time in 6 years

In 2011 worldwide TV shipments fell for the first time since NPD DisplaySearch began tracking global TV shipments in 2004, slipping 0.3 per cent to 247.7 million units.

LCD TV shipments increased by 7 per cent to just over 205 million units in 2011 – a substantial slowdown from the double digit growth in previous years. With plasma TV shipments declining almost 7 per cent in 2011 to 17.2 million units, the largest decline yet, and CRT shipments falling 34 per cent, LCD growth was not enough to offset these declines.

“The causes of slow demand in 2011 were complex, and although LCD TV showed growth, results were well below industry expectations.” noted Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch Director of North America TV Research. Gagnon added, “The low level of shipments were partially caused by excessive inventory levels early in 2011 for the US and European markets, as well as a sharp drop in demand in Japan following the end of the government sponsored Eco-Points program that caused a surge in replacement activity during 2009-2010.”

Q4’11 shipments were down 4 per cent Y/Y globally to 74.2 million units, with LCD TV shipments rising just 1 per cent (also the lowest growth rate since NPD DisplaySearch began tracking shipments). Plasma TV units were down 8 per cent and CRTs were down 43 per cent. The decline in units was most pronounced in Japan and Western Europe with only mild growth in North America. Collectively, TV shipments in the developed regions (North America, Japan and Western Europe) declined 21 per cent Y/Y in Q4’11. TV shipment growth in emerging regions continues to be strong though, increasing 12 per cent Y/Y in Q4’11 with LCD TV unit shipments rising 20 per cent.

The LCD TV shipment share increased to a record 86.5 per cent of global TV shipments in Q4’11, up from 83 per cent in Q3’11 and 82 per cent one year ago. LCD TV shipment growth is strongest in larger screen sizes with very aggressively priced models shipping for the holiday season. Shipments of 40″ and larger LCD TVs rose 20 per cent Y/Y while sub-40″ fell 7 per cent.

China remained the top region for TV shipments at 21 per cent, unchanged from the previous quarter, totaling 15.6 million units for the quarter and 49 million units for the year. China also had strong growth in 2011, with shipments increasing 19 per cent Y/Y in Q4’11, the highest of any region. More than 90 per cent of TV sets in the region were LCD as of 2011. North America was the second largest region for TV shipments, accounting for 20.5 per cent of shipments in Q4’11, and was the only developed region to experience Y/Y shipment growth.

3D continues to show gains worldwide as a percentage of TV shipments, posting gains in every region, but most impressively in China and Europe. In a somewhat surprising result, 3D penetration continues to be lackluster in North America, accounting for just 9 per cent of Q4’11 TV shipments as opposed to 21 per cent in Western Europe and 23 per cent in China. 3D TVs accounted for more than 24 million units shipped worldwide in 2011.

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