LCD shipments rally in 2009

AUTHOR: Inavate

LCD TV shipments defied expectations in 2009 and, despite the recession grew by two per cent, according to DisplaySearch.

According to the DisplaySearch Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, global TV shipments grew to 211 million units. Flat panel TV technologies like LCD enjoyed better growth in 2009 on a unit basis than during 2008, rising 37 per cent vs. 34 per cent, respectively. The final quarter of 2009 showed even stronger year-over-year (Y/Y) unit shipment growth, rising 17 per cent Y/Y overall with LCD TVs climbing 50 per cent Y/Y, the strongest growth in LCD TV units since Q4’07, although Q4’08 was very weak.

Strong flat panel TV shipment growth in emerging markets like China (more than 100% Y/Y) led the flat panel share of total annual TV shipments to pass 75 per cent for the first time, with more than 90 per cent of all TV revenues. One of the key drivers of growth was the acceleration of average selling price erosion driven by cost reductions at the component level, but also by decreasing margins at the brand and retail level. Coupled with greater consumer price sensitivity that resulted in much slower average screen size growth, the global volume-weighted ASP declined more than 8 per cent worldwide and fell as much as 24 per cent Y/Y for LCD TVs, the largest decline since DisplaySearch began tracking the TV marketplace.

For LCD TVs, this means that growth in sub-40” sets outpaced growth of big screens in mature developed markets like North America during 2009, despite the introduction of advanced new TV technologies to larger screen sizes, like LED-backlit LCD TVs and internet connected sets.

DisplaySearch is now also tracking LCD TV shipments by backlight type, including a breakout of edge-lit and full-array types by screen size, resolution and frame rate. LED backlights are not new in LCD TVs, but they have become significantly more affordable and offer many valuable attributes like lower power consumption, thinner and lighter cabinet designs, and better picture quality. However, the premiums for LED-backlit LCD TVs had been prohibitively high until 2009, and are expected to narrow much further in 2010 with explosive growth expected. LED-backlit LCD TVs only accounted for four per cent of global units in Q4’09, but they had a 11 per cent share of 40” and larger, and a 24 per cent share of shipments of 50” and larger. As the screen size (and price) climb, the LED premium is more acceptable.

It was also reported that Samsung achieved its highest revenue share ever, reaching a record 23.6 per cent of global TV revenues in Q4’09 (Table 2). This high revenue share is the result of being the global leader in units as well as having a strong mix of larger screen sizes as well as leading positions in advanced technologies like LED backlit and high frame rate LCD TVs, all of which support higher average prices. According to DisplaySearch Samsung has been top in both TV units and revenues worldwide every quarter for more than three years now, achieving a 22.6 per cent share of 2009 full year TV revenues.

LGE was the number two brand worldwide in TV shipment revenues and demonstrated the strongest annual growth among the top five brands, an indicator of the aggressive market share growth campaign the brand undertook in 2009. The result is that LGE improved their total 2009 TV revenue share by a full 2 percentage points to 13.2 per cent, a larger increase than any other brand in 2009. LGE’s Q4’09 revenue share rose slightly, to 13 per cent.

Sony was third in global TV revenues during Q4’09 at 11.5 per cent, up sharply from 9.9 per cent in Q4’09, as sales for Sony surged during the holidays, typically a strong quarter for the company. Sony had the largest quarter on quarter shipment growth among the top five in Q4’09. However, Sony’s full year 2009 total TV revenue share was down almost 2 percentage points from 2008, to 11.5 per cent, and is at the lowest level since 2005 when it last led the overall TV market. Much of Sony’s share loss went to the two surging Korean brands that aggressively targeted growth in 2009.