Shipments of LCD TV sets worldwide for 2016 are estimated to grow by 1.9% annually to around 220 million units, according to the latest analysis by WitsView, a division of TrendForce. At the start of 2017, the U.S. consumer market will be bumpy in the short term due to the results of the country’s presidential election. If the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to raise the key interest rates next year, domestic consumer spending will recover and the country will again play a major role in sustaining global TV sales. WitsView forecasts that global TV shipments for 2017 will reach 225 million units, up 2.5% compared with the prior year.
South Korean brands to be shipment leaders in 2016 and 2017 while standings of trailing competitors may change depending on LeEco-Vizio deal
Looking at the annual TV shipment ranking for 2017, WitsView anticipates that the two major South Korean brands Samsung and LG Electronics (LGE) will remain in the first and second place, respectively. Both Samsung and LGE have the advantage of obtaining LCD panel supply in house and are going to rely more on their ODMs in order to make their products more competitive. ODMs with their own supply of panels can also help South Korean brands reduce the risk of panel shortage.
Not much difference is expected between the 2016 and 2017 shipment rankings with respect to the third, fourth and fifth positions. China’s Hisense, TCL and Skyworth and Japan’s Sony will again be contesting for these three spots. Hisense and TLC in particular will be locked in a fierce struggle as their evenly matched in domestic shipments of their own branded TV sets. In overseas markets, the two brands’ shipments diverge in terms of size segments as they cater to different clients. Hisense exports mainly mid- and large-size models, while TCL shipments abroad are mostly products belonging to the small-to-mid-size range.
A major brand whose direction will be under scrutiny in the future is China’s LeEco. LeEco is the middle of acquiring Vizio and recently there are a lot of speculations about the company’s finances. If the Vizio deal is done, the combined TV shipments from the two companies might be able to propel LeEco to third place in the 2017 shipment ranking.
Ricky Lin, research manager of WitsView, pointed out that China-based Internet brands such as LeEco and Xiaomi have expanded rapidly in the global LCD TV market. “These Internet brands appeal to consumers with bargain-priced premium products,” said Lin.
Lin also noted that the Chinese Internet brands are also changing consumers’ TV shopping habits. “In China, Le Eco and Xiaomi added major sales events that target their customers in the months between the usual holiday seasons,” said Lin. “Besides promotional events during traditional holiday periods such as Chinese Labor Day, Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, there are ‘LeEco Day’ and ‘Xiaomi Day’ that spur replacement demand for these brands’ products.” WitsView expects the Internet brands will continue with this kind of sales strategies next year, and traditional branded TV makers in China will also have to adopt similar measures to hold on to their market shares.
Large-size TV sets will account for over 20% of the total shipments for 2017 while the 4K penetration rate will reach 31.5%
According to Lin, major development trends that will be unfolding in the LCD TV market next year include the increase in sizes and resolutions and the growing competition in niche, high-end product segments. Competitive focus of major brands will especially be on curved-screen and AMOLED technologies.
The market outlook by size segments indicates that the share of large-size models (those sized 55-inches and above) in the global annual TV shipments for 2016 is expected to reach 17.8%. For 2017, WitsView forecasts that large-size models will make up more than 20% of the annual shipments. WitsView also projects that the penetration rate of the 4K resolution in the global TV market will increase rapidly from 23.8% in 2016 to 31.5% in 2017. The 4K adoption will be driven by the increasing availability of video and gaming content that support this resolution standard.
As for the niche product segments, brands such as Samsung, Hisense and TCL have been very active in promoting curved-screen TV sets. Therefore, the penetration rate of curved-screen models in the global market is estimated to grow from 4% in 2016 to 5% in 2017, or from 9 million units shipped this year to 11 million next year.
Also, worldwide shipments of AMOLED TV for 2016 are estimated 870,000 units, representing a whopping annual growth of 129%. LG Display (LGD) plans to expand its large-size AMOLED TV panel capacity next year and is expected to further improve the yield rate for the technology. WitsView therefore forecasts that worldwide shipments of AMOLED TVs for 2017 will reach 1.6 million units, up 84% from the prior year.