Last year, worldwide shipments of TVs fell for the first time since NPD DisplaySearch began tracking global TV shipments in 2004, slipping 0.3 percent to 247.7 million units, according to the latest report from the research firm.
The report, "Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report," found that plasma TV shipments declined almost 7 percent in 2011 to 17.2 million units, the largest decline yet, and CRT shipments fell 34 percent. LCD TV shipments increased by 7 percent to just over 205 million units in 2011 — a substantial slowdown from the double-digit growth in previous years. But the growth in LCD TV shipments was not enough to offset these declines.
"The causes of slow demand in 2011 were complex, and although LCD TV showed growth, results were well below industry expectations," said Paul Gagnon, NPD DisplaySearch director of North America TV research.
"The low level of shipments was partially caused by excessive inventory levels early in 2011 for the U.S. and European markets, as well as a sharp drop in demand in Japan following the end of the government sponsored Eco-Points program that caused a surge in replacement activity during 2009-2010," the report said.
Globally, Q4 2011 shipments were down 4 percent year over year to 74.2 million units, with LCD TV shipments rising just 1 percent, which is also the lowest growth rate since NPD DisplaySearch began tracking shipments. Plasma TV units were down 8 percent and CRTs were down 43 percent. The decline in units was most pronounced in Japan and Western Europe with only mild growth in North America. Collectively, TV shipments in the developed regions (North America, Japan and Western Europe) declined 21 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of last year.
Emerging markets continued to offer a bright spot with strong TV shipment growth, increasing 12 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2011 with LCD TV unit shipments rising 20 percent.