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03
April
2012

Samsung widens lead in US LCD-TV market

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the fourth quarter of 2011 solidified its leadership of the U.S. LCD market, as its share of unit shipments reached a record high, according to information and analytics provider IHS.
During the final three months of 2011, Samsung accounted for nearly one-quarter of U.S. LCD TV shipments, at 23.6 percent, as shown in the figure attached. This represented the largest share of the market ever posted by Samsung on a quarterly basis, and allowed the South Korean electronics giant to pad its lead over No.2 brand VIZIO Inc. of Irvine, Calif.

“Samsung triumphed in the price war that raged in the U.S. LCD market in the fourth quarter of 2011,” said Tom Morrod, senior analyst and head of TV Technology for IHS. “The company was able to offer a range of price-competitive sets with a rich choice of features that U.S. consumers wanted. This allowed the company to outperform the competition during the all-important holiday selling season.”

In an example of how Samsung was able to capitalize on its broad range of products, the company in the fourth quarter sold two LCD TV models that were identical in every way, except that one integrated the older cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlighting—while the other employed the newer and more expensive light-emitting diode (LED) technology. This gave consumers a clear choice of features and price points.

Samsung in the fourth quarter extended its market-share lead over U.S.-based VIZIO to 8.2 percentage points, up from 6.2 points in the third quarter. Just a year earlier, in the fourth quarter of 2010, the companies’ positions were reversed, with VIZIO leading Samsung by 7.2 points.

Samsung may be positioned to further expand its lead over VIZIO in 2012 because of another factor separate from LCD-TV market dynamics.

“The recent Free Trade Agreement between the United States and South Korea will remove tariffs imposed on Korean firms selling TVs in America,” Morrod said. “Because of this accord, Samsung and fellow South Korean brand LG Electronics are poised to increase their shipments in the United States this year.”

LCD-TV shipments spike in the fourth quarter

U.S. LCD TV market shipments experienced strong sequential growth in the fourth quarter of 2011, rising by 30.7 percent compared to the third quarter.

Lower-than-expected demand and uncertainty about the U.S. economic recovery had caused LCD shipments to fall going into the second quarter. However, aggressive pricing helped boost sales at the end of the year—the time when holiday sales typically peak.

Overall average LCD TV prices in the fourth quarter fell to about $1,032, a $16 drop from the third quarter.

The strong fourth-quarter increase helped the U.S. LCD-TV market to eke out a small increase in 2011, with shipments rising to 33.4 million units for the year, up 0.4 percent from 33.2 million in 2010.
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