TCL leapfrogs LG to become world's No. 2 TV seller

Mike Wheatley

Chinese TV brand TCL has finally surpassed LG Electronics to become the world’s number two seller, according to data from Omdia. It achieved the milestone as overall global TV shipments declined by 4.8% in 2022.


Last week, Samsung Electronics announced that it had retained the top spot in the worldwide TV market for the 17th year in a row, based on both overall TV sales and revenue. However, Omdia had yet to publish its data on the rest of the market.

That has now changed, with Business Korea reporting the entire rankings. It said Samsung came first in terms of unit sales with a 19.6% share of the market, followed by TCL in second place with 11.7%. LG was relegated to third place by a razor-thin margin, with 11.69% of all TV sales, followed by Hisense in fourth with 10.5% and Xiaomi in fifth with 6.2%. It means that three of the world’s top five TV brands are Chinese firms. Japanese firms, which previously dominated TV sales, now trail far behind, with its top brand Sony coming 7th overall, according to Omdia.

TCL has been expanding its TV business aggressively for some years. Not only is it one of the top brands in its domestic market, but also in the U.S., where it has pushed especially hard with its premium Mini-LED models selling especially well there. TCL is also active in the European market, offering competitively-priced Mini-LED TVs such as the TCL C835 and TCL C935 (see video review below) that boast a greater number of local dimming zones than more expensive alternatives sold by Samsung and Sony.

It’s believed that TCL has long set itself the goal of surpassing LG, and so it deserves a pat of the back for its efforts. Omdia said it was trailing behind LG for most of the year, but finally overtook LG in the third quarter when it grabbed 12.6% of all sales during that period, compared to 11.5% for LG. In the fourth quarter, TCL accounted for 11.8% of all sales, coming second again, with Hisense also surpassing LG with 11.6%. The Korean brand found itself relegated to fourth in the final quarter of the year, with just 11% of TV sales. The trend suggests LG could well sink again in next year’s overall rankings.

On the other hand, LG does still make a lot more money from its TVs than TCL does, and that is what really counts. Samsung commanded a 29.7% share of the TV market’s overall revenue in 2022, followed by LG with 16.7% and TCL with just 9.4%. This is because Samsung and LG are more focused on premium TV models such as OLED and Mini-LED. In contrast, TCL doesn’t sell any OLED TVs at all, and while it does produce Mini-LED TVs, most of what it sells are cheaper, LCD models.

The companies will all take note that overall TV sales for the year were down almost 5% for the year, due to what Omdia said was lower demand from consumers in North America and Europe.

“Sales in major markets such as North America sank while growing mainly in emerging markets such as China, South America, and Africa," an industry analyst told Business Korea. “The characteristics of emerging markets, where low- and mid-priced TVs sell well, drove the growth of low-priced Chinese TVs in the emerging markets.”