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China dominates Smart TV market

Worldwide shipments of Smart TVs in the fourth quarter of 2015 reached 48.5 per cent of all TV sets shipped in the quarter, according to insight firm IHS. In all, 34.2 million smart TVs were shipped in the fourth quarter, contributing to shipments breaking the 100 million mark for the first time in 2015. Smart TV shipments will reach 109 million in 2016, rising to 134 million in 2020.

“Consumers increasingly regard smart functions as essential,” said Paul Gray, principal analyst, IHS Technology. “The market dynamic has shifted from seeding the market to self-sustaining demand for built-in internet streaming functions.”

More than three-quarters of televisions in China were shipped with smart functionality in 2015, while in North America the popularity of the feature surged from 36 per cent to 48 per cent. The popularity of Netflix and other services is reinforcing demand in North America, according to the IHS Technology TV Design and Features Tracker.

It is a mixed picture in other regions. Latin America continues to strongly increase Smart TV shipments, despite a depressed television market. Penetration was diluted by basic TV sets, to subsidise Mexico’s digital switchover. Excluding such sets, more than half of TVs shipped in Latin America in the fourth quarter of 2015 included smart features. Japan and Europe appear to have reached a plateau, with small declines in 2015, largely due to the end of aggressive promotion campaigns by TV brands and a shortage of good local content.

“Smart TV will continue to grow at a more gradual rate,” Gray said. “China, the dominant engine of Smart TV growth, has little extra room to grow. Other developed markets are increasingly saturated, while lack of broadband internet connections remains an issue in emerging regions.”

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