Nick Simon, GfK’s account director for Consumer Electronics, told delegates to the SES Ultra HD Conference in London, June 13th, that there was positive sales news in most countries in the current year following the FIFA World Cup.
Flat panel TV sales were up, frequently in considerable numbers (such as Russia, where unit sales are up 10.7 per cent) but as production volumes have risen and competition kicks in between the various brands, revenues are under pressure. Russia, for example, saw a 7.9 per cent increase in value for the period January-April this year, but in the UK revenues are down 1.4 per cent, in France they fell 4.1 per cent and Italy fell 3.4 per cent and Germany down by 0.6 per cent despite each key market enjoying greater unit sales.
GfK, which measures footfall and point-of-sale activity, says that the UK market is enjoying buoyant unit sales of 4K sets (up 12.4 per cent in April, for example) and that the UK was quite typical in that consumers were buying ever-larger sets as retail prices fall.
However, and despite this enthusiasm, there is now confirmed data that the take-up of UHD displays is actually slower than the take-up of HDTV sets. In the first four years since the introduction of HD some 55 per cent of all sets sold were HD. In a similar four-year period since the introduction of UHD, only 33 per cent of sets sold were UHD.
There are market-by-market differences in take-up, however. Some 58.4 per cent of German consumers have bought UHD sets. In the UK, it is 53.8 per cent, France 50.1 per cent and Italy 41.8 per cent and thus showing that there’s plenty of retail headroom for manufacturers.
Moreover, 8K sales are beginning to figure in GfK’s data. Simon told delegates: “4K has to acquire a much higher share of the TV market to make the next significant leap, even if [UK] sales are second only to Germany. 8K is not yet ready to play its part in proceedings.”