The global market for flat-panel-display televisions (FPD TV) was down in June as demand slipped in virtually every territory around the world, according to a new "Global FPD TV Shipment Database" report from information and analytics provider IHS.
Approximately 14.5 million FPD TVs shipped in June, down 16 percent from 17.2 million units in May. The latest total included 13.8 million liquid-crystal-display (LCD) television sets and 720,000 plasma-display-panel (PDP) units.
It was the second time in 2013 since February that shipments fell on a monthly basis and were down below the 15.0 million mark. The newly released numbers also marked the second straight year of decline during the month of June. Overall FPD TV shipments dipped 7 percent compared to the same month last year, led by a steep 32 percent tumble in PDP TVs.
A slowdown in demand worldwide conspired to depress June shipments. Numbers were down for the month in China, the United States, Japan, South Korea and among European-based TV brands.
China, however, was the biggest factor that pulled down the business in June. FPD TV shipments of Chinese TV brands plunged 44 percent, compared to a 26 percent slide for the United States and to single-digit declines in Europe, Japan and the rest of the world. Previously, Chinese companies had significantly increased their TV shipments in May in anticipation of last-minute buyers rushing to take advantage of a government subsidy before it ended at the close of May. But Chinese TV vendors promptly pulled back on June orders after demand cooled among the populace with the termination of the subsidy program.
Speculation is rife that the Chinese government might be mulling a new round of subsidies for the second half of this year to encourage consumption, but no one is certain if that will actually transpire. Even so, many believe the Chinese TV market is already saturated following heavy uptake of FPD TV sets in years past. As a result, TV manufacturers in China will be scaling back FPD TV panel purchases for the remaining six months of 2013, especially in light of what they see as soft consumer demand overtaking the market, IHS believes.
Other areas also see decline
Although it showed the biggest decline in FPD TV shipments for the month, China was not alone.
TV makers in Europe suffered from the double whammy of falling sales along with widening deficits caused by foreign exchange losses. Japanese TV brands, for their part, scaled down marketing promotions and discontinued the sales of loss-making models, leading to a sharp fall in revenue.
Meanwhile, intensifying competition in North America for super-sized, 60-inch-or-larger TVs fanned a widespread decline in pricing for large-sized television sets, creating significant challenges for TV brands and their manufacturers. South Korea, home to pre-eminent TV brands Samsung and LG, likewise responded to declining sales by instituting price cuts.
Across emerging markets, discontinued sales of older LCD TVs and plasma sets were behind sluggish sales. At the same time, newer LCD TVs with light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting technology were still considered too pricey by consumers, so potential sales from the newer sets could not be realized.
Moving forward, the main LCD TV segment of the FPD TV market could see merely slow growth for the remainder of the year, especially if TV consumer purchases do not pick up. If so, the global LCD TV market could contract for the second year in a row, which would deal yet another blow to already struggling TV brands and LCD panel makers alike.
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