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4K set sales boom, but no Euro 2016 bonanza

The UK this year will buy about 1.70 million Ultra HD sets, which is well ahead of last year’s total of 963,000. But the total number of TV sets bought will be much the same as 2015. This year will see 6.1 million displays bought (including Full HD and HD Ready units), compared with 6.08 million bought last year.

Nick Simon, GfK’s account director/consumer electronics, speaking at the SES UHD Conference in London June 14, told delegates that UHD sales this year will account for some 54 per cent of the TV sector’s value.  He added that there was an increasing domination of the market by large screen buyers, with sales this year expected to top 80 per cent for 50” plus sizes.

GfK’s forecasts for 2017 will see UK consumers buy some 2.5 million UHD unit, and fast catching up on the ‘Full HD’ sales of some 3.08 million. By the end of next year, the UK market will have bought more than 5 million UHD sets.

The overall TV sales picture (at 6.1 million units) is well down on the 6.5 million sold during ‘World Cup’ year of 2014, and significantly below the 9.7 million units sold in 2009 which was at the peak of the Cathode Ray Tube transition to flat panels of 9.76 million.

“UHD is now at the heart of the TV market,” said Simon, and with buyers taking the opportunity to not only trade up in terms of quality but, in buying ever-larger screen sizes. 50”-54” sizes dominated sales in March this year.

Market value of UHD set sales is also rising. For example, last year’s 12-month overall sales value for UHD sets was £871.8 million.  December 2015 saw sales worth 22 per cent of the over annual market. Indeed, sales of UHD sets during Q1 2016 are up 87.7 per cent on the same period last year. Almost every other metric is down year-on-year (Blu-ray down 14.7 per cent, Sat-Nav down 8.1 per cent, DVD players down 14.6 per cent).

The British market enthusiasm for UHD sets leads the rest of Europe. Last year Brits bought 963,000 UHD units. Germany was next, with 937,000 units bought. France bought 531,000 sets. Italy 355,000.

However, sales figures from January-March see Germany lead the European market with 388,000 for the first quarter. UK bought 341,000 UHD displays, France 233,000, Italy 139,000, Spain 110,000, and Ireland 11,000 units, according to GfK data.

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