© alexandr malyshev Business | April 18, 2013

Post-Lunar letdown: Drop-off in Chinese demand

Global flat-panel television shipments fell by 10 percent in February and by an estimated 4 percent in March compared to the same months in 2012 as Chinese demand plunged following the Lunar New Year buying season.
Global shipments of flat-panel display (FPD) televisions amounted to 12.6 million units in February, down from 14 million one year earlier, according to IHS. Shipments fell by another 4 percent in March, according to a preliminary estimate.

The FPD market consists of liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma televisions.

“Worldwide television shipments usually decline in February compared to January because of the shortness of the month and the conclusion of the Chinese Lunar New Year shopping season,” said Jusy Hong, senior analyst, television research, for IHS. “However, global shipments in February this year also dropped sharply on a year-over-year basis because of the weak results in China. This drastic change illustrates the rising influence of the Chinese market on the worldwide television business. Chinese companies this year are expected to account for more than 20 percent of global LCD-TV production.”

Rising ratings for Chinese TV makers

Chinese-based companies in January shipped 31 percent of worldwide LCD TVs, marking the first time that the country surpassed South Korea to take the global lead. However, China slid back to second place in February, with its share dropping to 18 percent.

LCD TV shipments by Chinese-based TV brands declined drastically in February after the end of one of the country’s biggest sales seasons ever. And despite strong sales for the Lunar New Year, inventory issues in the country remain a problem. This contributed to declining LCD panel procurement among Chinese TV makers in January and February.

Big TVs achieve bigger shipments

Global shipments of large-sized televisions are increasing very quickly, especially for the 50-inch and larger sets, based on analysts of shipments from the world’s top 14 brands.

Comparing February 2013 to the same month in 2012, worldwide shipments of 50-inch-and-larger-sized TVs increased to 10 percent, double the 5 percent last year.

In particular, the 50- through 55-inch segment also rose to 3 percent, up from zero during the same period. Moreover, 60-inch and larger size TV shipments are increasing rapidly. Shipments for this segment totaled 240,000 units so far this year, up 100,000 units from 150,000 units in 2012. These sets accounted for 3 percent of the total LCD TV shipments in February.

“TV brands are aggressively expanding their lineups and shipments of super-large-sized TVs in order to improve the profitability of their TV businesses,” Hong said. “Panel manufacturers also are following suit, resulting in decreasing prices for both panels and TV sets.”

Midsize sets see mixed results

Meanwhile, medium -sized TVs in the 15- though 29-inch range lost share worldwide, with their portion of the market declining to 10 percent in February, down from 15 percent during the same month the previous year. The share of 32-inch sets, which account for the biggest portion of the global market, also dropped to 40 percent, down from 42 percent during the same period in 2012.

Meanwhile, new sizes such as the 39-inch and 50-inch made a successful entry into the worldwide TV market. The 35- through 39-inch segment, which includes the popular 39-inch size, doubled its portion of the market to 6 percent.


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