New technologies are now driving the upsurge with, say the analyst, 4K Ultra HD sets continuing to attract consumer spend at the premium end of the market driven in part by easier access to 4K content, as streaming services add content and gain a foothold. Futuresource calculates that 4K UHD TV shipments will have increased by 32 percent in 2018, while smart TV shipments are forecast to be up by 9 percent.
Even though the technology is barely out of its infancy and with very little traction, the analyst sees more 8K sets emerging in 2019 and predicts that around 300,000 8K TVs will likely be shipped in 2019, commanding a ‘significant’ share of the premium market by 2022.
Samsung, LG and TCL were identified in the report as global TV brand leaders, taking a combined market share of nearly 40 percent in 2018. Futuresource noted that this was the case even though Samsung has been sacrificing some ground at the value end of the market due to intense competition, instead focusing on the premium segment. It added that rising demand for OLED has helped keep the LG brand buoyant, whereas TCL has been successful in expanding its footprint beyond its homeland of China.
The report also showed that for the very first time in North America, more than a million 70-inch+ screens are estimated to have been shipped last year, underlining the importance of super-large screens. OLED is also beginning to make its presence felt and is projected to break the million European shipments mark in 2019.
Yet overall, the research shows that the market is being lifted by developing economies, as European and US markets continue to deliver a lackluster performance. Futuresource believes that in developed countries, the desire for bigger screens and premium features in the living room is being satisfied to the detriment of other rooms and that in many cases, households are opting to upgrade their main set at the expense of secondary TVs, resulting in some market stagnation.
“China is in positive territory thanks to a growing middle class, whereas many in India are finally saying goodbye to their old CRT TV sets,” said Matthew Rubin, senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “In Russia, the market has benefited significantly from hosting the FIFA World Cup, resulting in an estimated 14 percent shipment growth in 2018. Meanwhile, over in Brazil, TV set demand from the previous year’s analog switch-off spilled over into 2018. All these diverse influences have combined to create a positive market landscape.
Looking to the future, Futuresource predicts that voice control will become a key battleground for TV brands, as smart home devices continue to pervade consumers’ lives. Although it believes that just 2 percent of TVs shipped in the first half of 2018 was able to work with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, Futuresource says that there will likely be a big push to get voice assistants incorporated into TVs, coming from TV brands and software companies alike.―Rapid TV News