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Analyst: 4K boost for ‘challenging’ TV set market

4K TV sales are poised to grow by a further 38 per cent in 2017 to account for more than a third of the worldwide TV market, according to latest projections from Futuresource Consulting. This comes in the wake of a strong performance in 2016 when 4K surpassed 25 per cent of total TV sales, despite the remaining scarcity of regular broadcast 4K content in most regions.

In the Worldwide TV Market Report, Futuresource states that the total TV market was flat year-on-year at 226 million units in 2016 following a small decline in 2015. Trade value clocked up $85 billion, down 1 per cent year-on-year. “The outlook this year is also one of zero growth, with established markets especially challenged,” says David Tett, ‎Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “Mature markets remain flat in the face of saturation. In a bid to entice consumers to upgrade their sets sooner rather than they would otherwise, vendors are emphasising the new features found in the latest sets – UHD, OLED, High Dynamic Range (HDR), curved screens and the latest smart TV features and services.” The report notes that 2017 is also a year in which there are no major worldwide broadcast events, nor many significant analogue to digital switch-overs to kick-start sales.

Futuresource Consulting’s report also delves into the fortunes of rival major consumer flat panel brands.

The contest between OLED and LCD takes centre stage and is a battle principally between the two biggest TV vendors in the world, LG and Samsung. Companies are lining up to use LG-manufactured OLED in their TVs, with Sony being the latest big name to do so.

Samsung, meanwhile, continues to push the boundaries of LCD based screen technology – with the 2017 line up of QLED branded TVs being its latest answer to OLED sets.

Average retail prices in 2016 approached $550 and are expected to rise throughout the forecast period due to increasing 4K sales; escalating OLED sales in the premium end of the market; and demand for larger screen sizes. The 32-inch category has seen particularly large price jumps in part due to availability issues and exchange rate fluctuations

Competition amongst brands remains intense, with Samsung retaining its number 1 spot.

“Chinese brands continue to look abroad to grow their business,” reports Tett. “Hisense, a top five global brand, was a highly visible sponsor of the European Championship Football in 2016 and will be again for the upcoming World Cup in 2018. A foothold is being gained in the US and Europe by brands such as TCL and Hisense, as they seek to grow their business outside of their domestic market, which is slowing.”

The Home Video Player Market Report, also published by Futuresource Consulting in May, notes that UHD Blu-ray player sales are expected to grow by 148 per cent to 1.4 million units this year – equivalent to 8 per cent of the total Blu-ray player market.

“4K UHD broadcasts are still limited largely to sports,” notes Senior Market Analyst, Jack Wetherill. “Higher-end consumers – especially in the US and Western Europe – are turning to UHD Blu-ray players to access movie content. This growth will be aided by the release of approximately 250 UHD Blu-ray titles this year in addition to the ever-growing base of 4K UHD TV owners.”

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