WitsView, a division of TrendForce, has revised the global LCD TV shipments for 2015 downward from 225 million sets to 223.4 million according to its latest research. The estimated yearly shipment growth rate has also been adjusted from 4% to 3.3%. Several factors contribute to the revisions. Firstly, the depreciation of both the euro and currencies of emerging markets has widen the losses for branded TV vendors. Secondly, demands in China and other major markets are reaching saturation. Thirdly, there is a lack of global sporting events that would stimulate TV sales. And lastly, the shipment strategies of vendors have changed from achieving high volume to selling premium quality, high-margin products. This in turn drives the market demands for 4K models and TV sets sized 50 inches and above.
The 4K segment is this year’s main battleground where the brand vendors will try outdo each other in specs. As technologies relating to curved-screen and high-color saturation have yet to mature, vendors will stick with the 4K models since these products offer better margins. The Chinese Labor Day sales saw 4K TVs standing out in the market, representing over 30% of the total sales during the holidays. They are also likely to become the main products on sales in the United States during the peak seasons in the second half of 2015, including the Black Friday sales. Based on the above considerations, WitsView has revised this year’s global market penetration of 4K TVs upward from 14.6% to 15.4%.
Another significant development in the LCD TV market is the vendors’ switch to TV of larger sizes as part of their overall quality over quantity strategy. As a result of the expansion of Gen 8.5 production and promotional campaigns from vendors, the demand of the 50-inch and above models relative to other products has risen, from 18.2% in 2014 to 19.8% this year. Their shipments have also increased from 39.4 million last year to 44.2 million this year, resulting a growth of 12.3%. This shows the large-size segment has significant demand growth potential within the LCD TV market. The 32-inch products by contrast are losing market shares because their demand is depressed across the emerging markets and their overall margin is getting too low for vendors. WitsView estimates the shares of the shipments of the 32-inch models relative to other TV product shipments will fall, from 32.5% last year to 30.4% this year. Although the 32-inch is still considered the mainstream in market in the short term, the shipment decline of this size category will inevitably be the biggest relative other sizes.