Korean Brands Samsung & LG Lead Declining Flat-Screen TV Market

Mike Wheatley

South Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG steadfastly held onto their lead in the flat-screen television market, but neither company will be that optimistic of a return to growth in 2013 following a new report from analyst firm IHS that shows total shipments fell for a second month in succession this July.

Samsung and LG

The IHS Monthly Worldwide FPD TV Shipment Data Report shows that total global shipments of LCD and plasma televisions for July totalled 14.88 million units, 6.3% less than in July 2012. The main reason for this was the decline in LCD TVs, which make up the bulk of the flat-panel TV space. Shipments of LCD tellies fell by 5.7% year-on-year with a total of 14.1 million units, while plasmas fared even worse with just 781,000 shipments, a 15.8% decline from the year before.

According to IHS, this downturn in flat-screen TV shipments is a continuation of what happened last June. It further warns that the downward trend is unlikely to tail off anytime soon, citing reduced consumer demand for these products. As a result of this, major TV makers have conservative expectations for shipments until the end of the year, with an improvement only expected before the Christmas holiday period.

Jusy Hong, consumer electronics and technology senior analyst at IHS, warned that the flat-panel television market is now in decline after more than a decade of “blockbuster expansion and runaway success.”

“TV shipments are likely to post another year of decline in 2013. If that happens, it would be the second consecutive year that shipments of flat-panel TVs have retrenched – something that was unthinkable just a couple of years ago,” said Hong.

With regards to the major TV brands, it was South Korea’s Samsung and LG that once again shipped the most TVs. Samsung, the world’s number one TV maker, accounted for 19% of all shipments in the sector, followed by LG with 14%. Sony and TCL of China came in at joint 3rd with 6% of the market, followed by Toshiba and Hisense with 5%.

While Samsung and LG will be happy to have held onto their positions at the top, their longer-term prospects are not so good, with the overall share of Korean and Japanese brands falling by 2% in the face of low-priced competition from Chinese companies. According to IHS, China’s big six of Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Konka, Skyworth and TCL saw their total shipments rise from 15.5% in June to 20.4% in July, an increase of almost 5% and evidence perhaps that where a bargain can be had, consumer interest can still be roused.

According to IHS, China’s top three brands – TCL, Hisense and Skyworth – were likely to maintain this growth until the end of the year at least, and are likely to surpass Japan’s Sony and Toshiba in the next couple of months.

Source: IHS iSuppli