After a global decline in TV shipments in 2017, the market recovered in 2018; now a report from Futuresource Consulting shows a year-end estimated 3 per cent year-on-year increase in shipments, and a rise of 7 per cent in trade value.
BRIC Countries Lead the Way
“The market is being lifted by developing economies, as European and US markets continue to deliver a lacklustre performance,” says Matthew Rubin, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “China is in positive territory thanks to a growing middle class, whereas many in India are finally saying goodbye to their old CRT TV sets. In Russia, the market has benefited significantly from hosting the FIFA World Cup, resulting in an estimated 14 per cent shipment growth in 2018. Meanwhile, over in Brazil, TV set demand from the previous year’s analogue switch off spilled over into 2018. All these diverse influences have combined to create a positive market landscape.”
Premium Plays its Part
At the premium end of the market, UHD continues to attract consumer spend, driven in part by easier access to 4K content, as streaming services add content and gain a foothold. UHD TV shipments are expected to have increased by 32 per cent in 2018, while Smart TV shipments are forecast to be up by 9 per cent. 8K is still in its early stages, with very little traction, though more brands are promising to offer the technology from 2019. As a result, around 300,000 8K TVs are likely to be shipped in 2019, and will command a significant share of the premium market by 2022.
“In developed countries, the desire for bigger screens and premium features in the living room is being satisfied to the detriment of other rooms,” says Rubin. “In many cases, households are opting to upgrade their main set at the expense of secondary TVs, resulting in some market stagnation. However, for the very first time in North America, more than one million 70-inch+ screens are estimated to have been shipped last year, underlining the importance of super-large screens. OLED is also beginning to make its presence felt and will power through the million European shipments mark in 2019.”
Samsung Stays on Top
While there are some fluctuations at the country level, the global brand leaders are Samsung, LG and TCL, taking a combined market share of nearly 40 per cent in 2018. Samsung has been sacrificing some ground at the value end of the market due to intense competition, instead focusing on the premium segment. Rising demand for OLED has helped keep the LG brand buoyant, whereas TCL has been successful in expanding its footprint beyond its homeland of China.
“Looking to the future, voice control will become a key battleground for TV brands, as smart home devices continue to pervade consumers’ lives,” says Rubin. “Although just 2 per cent of TVs shipped in the first half of 2018 were able to work with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, watch out for a big push to get voice assistants incorporated into TVs, coming from TV brands and software companies alike.”