SANTA CLARA, CA – Annual global LCD TV shipments declined for the first time ever in 2012, down 1% to 203 million, says NPD DisplaySearch.

The fourth quarter was the only quarter to see growth, rising 0.6%, but it was not enough to offset declines from the first three quarters, says the firm.

The preliminary outlook for LCD TV growth in 2013 is cautious, despite significant reductions in demand for plasma and CRT TV.

“Global demand for LCD TVs declined 18% year-over-year in developed regions in 2012, and the growth in emerging markets was not nearly enough to offset this decline in some of the world’s highest volume regions,” observed Paul Gagnon, director of Global TV Research for NPD DisplaySearch. “Economic conditions certainly had an impact on demand, but a very mild price erosion also played a role, as global average selling prices for flat panel TVs fell a mere 2% year-over-year in 2012 compared to a 5% decline in 2011 and double digit declines in 2010.”

Total global TV shipments fell more than 6% year-over-year in 2012, to 233 million.

On a regional basis, North American shipments were essentially flat in comparison to 2011, with the US accounting for 89.7% of North American volume, says NPD DisplaySearch. However, shipments to both Japan and Western Europe fell sharply, declining 68% and 15% year-over-year, respectively.

China was once again the world’s largest market for TV shipments, with demand rising 6% to nearly 52 million, signaling the first time any region has reached an annual volume of more than 50 million. Growth slowed in the other emerging regions, including Asia Pacific, MEA, and Latin America, all of which declined in volume. Eastern Europe was the only region with strong growth in 2012, rising 17% year-over-year in volume, as analog to digital transitions drove purchasing.

Samsung’s global flat panel TV revenue share reached a record high of 27.7% in 2012, up from 25% in 2011, with total flat panel TV revenues increasing 6% compared to 2011.

LGE ranked second, with the company’s shipments accounting for 15% of global flat panel TV revenues and also enjoying revenue growth during the year.
Japanese brands Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp rounded out the top 5 global flat panel TV brands on a revenue basis, but their collective share declined 6% in 2012. The revenue share for all Japanese brands fell more than 8%.

Japanese TV brands have been hit hard by the massive decline in the Japanese TV market. Chinese TV brands experienced strong growth in 2012, because domestic growth was strong, but they also gained share outside of China. Collectively, Chinese TV brands accounted for more than 20% of global flat panel TV revenues and are aggressively targeting expansion overseas, says the research firm.

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