TV shipments faced steep quarterly decline -

TV shipments fell eight percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012, which is the steepest rate of decline seen since Q2 2009.

A report from NPD Displaysearch, Advanced Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, revealed that total TV shipments for Q1 2012 were 51 million units. The industry can thank a slowdown in LCD TV shipments primarily for the decline, which was the first drop ever in the history of the category. LCD TV shipments decreased three percent, at 43 million units.

The share of LCD TV shipments fell from Q4 2011 thanks to a seasonal shift to emerging markets where the focus for CRT models is higher. Year on year this share is up, however, four percentage points to 84.2 percent. 40" and larger screen size models have been taking share from plasma TV demand, which dropped 18 percent year on year. Consumers are mostly no longer interested, and when they are, it is low price, 2D HD models that are attractive.

According to NPD Displaysearch, average LCD TV screen sizes increased five percent year on year in the quarter, passing the 35" mark for the first time. There were gains made in emerging and mature markets. More affordable backlit LED sets contributed to a rise from 51 percent in Q4 2011 to 56 percent in Q1 2012 in the category, a sizeable gain of 20 percentage points year on year.

Of all the markets, China is the top region for demand. It represented 20 percent of all units shipped in the quarter, though this was down slightly from Q4 2011. NPD Displaysearch says flat panel TVs are beginning to saturate higher-income urban markets in the country, but prices are not affordable for upgrades in rural markets. APAC was the second highest region for shipments, then North America, and Western Europe.

Manufacturers who bet the farm on 3D sets in the mature markets could be surprised to hear that demand for 3D in emerging regions outpaced developed regions slightly - 16 percent of flat panel TVs went to emerging markets in the quarter, compared to 15 percent in developed regions.

Samsung ruled the roost in flat panels again, with revenue share hovering around the 26 percent mark, approaching record levels. It was the only brand in the top five to bring in year on year revenue growth for the quarter. It also topped the charts in LCD TV, 40"+ LED-backlit LCD, and 3D TV. LGE was second, topping its market share up significantly to reach 14.5 percent revenue share. Then there was Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic. Sony and Panasonic both posted a significant drop in year-on-year revenues.