Research firm Omdia says global TV sales will decline 10% this year

Mike Wheatley

Research firm Omdia says it’s expecting to see a sharp downturn in TV shipments this year due to the effects of the coronavirus and governments’ related mitigation efforts.


Omdia’s revised TV Sets Market Tracker forecasts that TV shipments will fall by 8.7% in 2020 to just 203.5 million units, down from 222.9 million TVs shipped in 2019. The research firm had originally forecast shipments to rise to 225.4 million units this year, before the coronavirus made its impact felt.

Omdia’s numbers represent a downswing of 9.8% in its original shipment forecast.

Omdia’s analysts say the shortfall is a direct result of the measures imposed by various governments around the world to try and counter the coronavirus. The majority of the world’s population is now under some kind of restrictions on their movement, with many being forced to stay at home and only go outside for essential supplies.

In addition, Omdia says the suspension of sporting events around the world is another factor. Pretty much every football league in the world is currently suspended, while major events including the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed.

Omdia says the drop in demand for TVs will be most noticeable in the second quarter, and expects a 16% fall in shipments compared to the same period last year.

The first market to recover is expected to be China, which will be the least hardest hit. However, in Europe and North America, Omdia says it expects second quarter TV shipments to fall by as much as 40%. Other regions will see smaller declines as they’ve had more time to put in place effective measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and avoid dramatic shutdowns.

Omdia’s warning comes despite the U.K. seeing a surprise jump in TV sales during the second week of March, just after the government first imposed restrictions on people’s movement and began enforcing social distancing. TV sales rose by 59.5% in volume and 43.3% in value, according to data from another analyst firm, GfK. But that is only likely to be a temporary boost, analysts say.

Paul Gray, research director of consumer devices at Omdia, said that annual declines in TV shipments of around 10% are not unusual at a regional level when unusual events take place. But he said the coronavirus outbreak is unprecedented in modern times, and that declines were now happening in all regions.

“The global television market is experiencing a shocking reversal of fortune,” Gray said. “Just one month ago, things were looking up for TV sales, with 2019 having ended on a hopeful note and all indications pointing to mild television shipment growth in 2020. However, that hope has completely evaporated during the past month as concerns about supply interruptions have been eclipsed by rising industry anxiety over a coronavirus-driven demand crash.”

While it’s still anyone’s guess as to how long the coronavirus outbreak will last, Omdia did at least say it was more optimistic about the TV industry’s fortunes in 2021. Based on an analysis of historical data, Omdia says it’s hopeful that a flurry of rescheduled sporting events could lead to a rebound in TV sales.