NPD: LCD TV Shipments Fall for the First Time

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LCD TVIn 2012, flat screen LCD TVs had a negative shipping total for the first time ever, and the outlook for 2013 is a bit cautious, too, according to a new NPD DisplaySearch report.

Total global TV shipments fell over 6% Y/Y in 2012, from 249 million to 233 million. On a regional basis, North America shipments were essentially flat in comparison to 2011, with the US accounting for 89.7% of North American volume according to new data available from NPD DisplaySearch. However, shipments to both Japan and Western Europe fell sharply, declining 68% and 15% Y/Y, 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% Y/Y in volume as analog to digital transitions drove purchasing.

There is some reason to be optimistic in the face of this report, though: most Americans replace their TVs about every seven years, and the big boom for flat screen HDTV started around 2005. Those people who were at the front of the buying curve are now getting ready to look at a new set that’s bigger and better.

Studies show that Smart TV features, and 3D are right behind the size factor in new purchasers’ minds, so as people go from vanilla to the big show with their new TV purchases, we’ll probably see an uptick in the media to support them as well. I don’t think anyone is fooling themselves that the electronics and media boom of the DVD era is going to be reached again any time soon, but there’s still plenty of room for healthy sales to satisfy everyone. Who knows? By the time the next upgrade cycle comes around, 4K TVs just might be ready for average consumer  prime time, and with the sizes of the typical 4K TV on the market now, that might be one of television’s biggest booms yet.

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