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Demand in the Chinese market for TVs with screen sizes 55-inches and larger remains strong, as sharply declining prices in the category fuel consumer upgrade activity. With many new Chinese TV brands offering steep discounts, shipments of big-screen TVs in China increased nearly 80 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the previous year, which is more than twice the level of global growth. As a result, large-screen TV shipments in China rose from 2.1 million units in the first quarter of 2015 to reach 3.8 million units in the first quarter of this year, according to IHS.
Nearly two-thirds of big-screen TV shipments in China in the first quarter of 2016 were 4K TV models, as 4K TV prices for 55-inch and larger sizes declined more than 36 per cent, year over year. Some very aggressive brands in China offered 65-inch 4K TVs for less than $900 in the first quarter, well below the average global price of more than $1,700. These aggressively low prices are helping fuel the growth of some new brands in the Chinese market, such as LeTV and other streaming-TV brands.
“North America has traditionally been viewed as the key region for large-screen TV growth, owing to the region’s long history of leading global average sizes,” said Paul Gagnon, director of TV sets research for IHS Technology. “However, in recent years China has surpassed North America in terms of average TV size, and the country has enjoyed much stronger growth in the 55-inch-and-larger category in the past year, even surpassing North America’s share of large-screen TVs.”
Although global TV shipments in the first quarter of 2016 fell 2 per cent, to 49.1 million units, key categories like 4K TV and large-screen TVs are critical to the stability of revenue and profits for global TV brands. The global 4K TV market grew 99 per cent year over year in the first quarter of this year, reaching 9.3 million units (19 per cent of units shipped). At the same time, the average TV screen size globally increased to a new high of 40.6-inches. The average screen size of TV shipments in China also reached a new high of nearly 45-inches in the first quarter.