Sony Leads Global 4K TV Market, But Samsung Catching Up

Mike Wheatley

Sony remains the world’s best-selling 4K TV brand, but its lead is rapidly being eroded by strong competition from Korean electronics giant Samsung, as well as a number of low-cost Chinese brands.

Sony 4K TV

New data from TV industry research and analyst firm DisplaySearch shows that Sony and Samsung are braced to slug it out for dominance in the world of ultra high-definition (UHD) television this year. Whilst Sony has undoubtedly benefited from its head start (its 4K Ultra HD TVs were among the first to be released) and its efforts to get more native 4K content to our screens, it faces a tough battle to retain its position as number one seller against the marketing power of Samsung, the world’s largest TV manufacturer by total volume.

Sony held 18.2 percent of the global 4K TV market in fourth quarter of 2013, with Samsung trailing behind with a 14.9 percent share. That’s a far cry from six months ago, when Sony commanded 42.4 percent of the 4K TV market at the end of Q2 2013. At that time, Samsung had only just released its first UHDTV models, and held a minuscule 3.8 percent share of the market.

Since then things have changed drastically. Samsung has pursued its own 4K ambitions aggressively, rolling out 55-inch and 65-inch UHD TVs in the USA and Europe during Q3 of 2013, and its efforts seem to be paying off – indeed, DisplaySearch reports that Samsung has surpassed Sony as the number one 4KTV maker in Europe, and is fast closing in on Sony in the North American market too.

This will come as depressing news for Sony. The Japanese consumer electronics company has placed great hopes on its 4K displays, and has been going all out to market them whilst also doing far more than any other TV maker to ensure customers have some genuine 4K content to watch. But even with this almighty effort, it seems that nothing can stop Samsung’s relentless march towards ultra high-definition domination.

Of course, this is assuming that even greater numbers of people don’t start turning their noses up at Samsung and Sony’s high-priced televisions in favour of cheaper ones. Quite a few people already have, which is why Chinese brands Skyworth (13.9 percent), Chang Hong (11.4 percent) and Hisense (10.5 percent) have all seen impressive growth in the 4K segment over the last few months.