4K to Make Up 42% TV Sales in 2018, Led by Samsung & Sony

Mike Wheatley

Samsung and Sony are set to go neck-and-neck in the race to dominate an emerging 4K Ultra HD TV market that’ll account for more than a third of all television sales within the next four years.

Sony 4K TV

This outlook comes via a new strategic report from analyst firm Futuresource Consulting, which provides insights into consumer electronics within the broadcasting realm. The report predicts that global TV sales are set to rebound this year following a disappointing 2013, driven by strong growth in emerging markets like Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

That’s welcome news for all TV manufacturers, but it’ll be 4K TVs that drive future growth, and that’s where Sony and Samsung are set to establish a big lead. Futuresource says that 4K will account for five percent of all televisions sold during 2014, rising to a whopping 42 percent by the end of 2018. What with many TV sets in this category already able to upscale existing HD content into 4K resolution, it’s believed that consumers will be encouraged to buy in advance of the widescale distribution of native 4K content.

Early leaders Sony and Samsung are likely to emerge as the big winners in this emerging niche. As we reported last month, these two firms have already raced ahead in 4K TV sales. Currently, Sony is top dog, having “maintained the top shipment share of 4K TVs outside of China,” a position that it’s held onto since Q2 of last year, according to NPD DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report. But Samsung is said to be fast catching up, with at least one source reporting it’s already surpassed Sony in ultra high-definition (UHD) TV sales in Europe, and it’s said to be hot on its Japanese rival’s heels in the all-important North American market too.

Of course the biggest market for 4K remains in China. The birthplace of cheap and cheerful Ultra HD televisions is said to account for 84 percent of the industry at the present time. Even so, Futuresource warns that China’s 4K market will soon fall into decline, something that could cause disruption as Chinese firms look to expand into western markets.

The biggest takeaway from all this is that we can expect a flood of UHDTVs arriving in high street stores from this year onwards. If 4K does take off in the way Futuresource is predicting, the likes of LG, Panasonic, Toshiba and Sharp will have no option but to try and carve out their own slice of the pie, leading to more aggressive marketing, cheaper hardware, and with it the appearance of a lot more native 4K content than we’re seeing now.

Source: Futuresource Consulting