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Growth in flat panel TV shipments to fall in 2011, think tank says

 9 May 2011      

SANTA CLARA, California (07 May 2011) - After growing by nearly 18% on a year-over-year basis to 248 million units last year, DisplaySearch is forecasting growth in worldwide television shipments will slow to less than 4% in 2011. The private think tank provided no statistics for the Canadian market.

In its latest Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, DisplaySearch opined that slower price erosion will cool demand in developed markets.

The report noted the total TV market is increasingly defined by the replacement of CRT TVs with flat panel TVs, especially in emerging markets, as growth begins to slow for many developed countries that have strongly adopted flat panel TVs already. Flat panel TVs grew 32% in 2010 on a unit basis, but that growth will slow to 12% in 2011.

"As the household installed base for flat panel TVs increases above 50-60%, the growth rate slows, which is currently the situation in Japan, Western Europe, and North America. Emerging markets, however, are still ripe for sustained growth due to a low level of household flat panel TV penetration," noted Paul Gagnon, director of North America TV research for DisplaySearch.

LCD TVs continue to be the primary TV type shipped worldwide, and are expected to account for about 84% of all TV shipments in 2011. As CRT TVs become scarce, LCD TVs will become the de facto choice for consumers looking to upgrade their CRT TVs. Worldwide LCD TV shipments will increase from about 192 million units in 2010 to almost 217 million units in 2011, a 13% increase. Total LCD TV shipments are expected to increase steadily, reaching 270 million units by 2014.

Within the LCD TV category, several key features are gaining share as cost premiums decline. LED backlights will account for about 50% of the total LCD TV units shipped during 2011, penetrating a large number of screen sizes, especially above 40-inches. Larger screen size sets are usually fully featured and focused on performance. As a result, performance-oriented features like high frame rate and 1080p resolution have much better penetration among larger screen sizes. 120Hz and higher refresh rates will account for about a quarter of total LCD TV units in 2011, but for 40-inch plus sizes, the share is more than 60%.

Plasma TV experienced a huge turnaround in 2010, with Y/Y shipment growth of 30%, up from -1.5% in 2009. Much of the growth was the result of cost-conscious consumers looking for value, as well as relatively slow ASP erosion in competitive LCD products. LCD TV ASPs were down 10% in 2010, while plasma TV ASPs fell 15%.

However, DisplaySearch expects plasma TV shipment growth to slow considerably in the first quarter of 2011 and will begin to decline in the second half of the year as LCD regains share of below 50-inch sizes. The global market for 50-inch and larger sets remains relatively small and slow-growing.

DisplaySearch is also now tracking and forecasting 3D TV shipments by technology, size, resolution, frame rate, and backlight type, all broken down by region throughout the forecast. This data reveals that while 3D accounted for just 10% of Q4'10 global TV revenues, and over 2M units, it will quickly rise to more than 50% of revenues and 100M units worldwide by 2014 as it essentially becomes a standard feature of large screen TVs of all technology types.

The penetration of 3D will be highest initially among full-featured sets, accounting for 30% of 120Hz+ LCD TVs in 2011 for example, but 3D penetration will quickly move into more basic models over the next several years. And while 3D is mainly for primary living room TVs, where 1080p is common, plasma TV manufacturers are starting to bring 3D to entry-level HD sets, accounting for about 17% of 720p resolution plasma TVs in 2011.

A division of the NPD Group, DisplaySearch maintains a web site at

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