2009 LCD HD Shipments Not Bad After All

Despite somewhat gloomy predictions of a rapid drop in LCD sales of mostly HDTV units in 2009 compared to 2008, the just-concluded calendar year has far exceeded those early expectations for consumers, according to DisplaySearch.

A key reason? Consumers found themselves taking advantage of often-discounted LCD products for much of the year, including the 2009 holiday sales season.

DisplaySearch, a consultancy based in Austin, Texas, reports that global TV shipments grew about 2 percent overall (211 million units), while flat-panel HD/SD technologies, including LCD (the predominant DTV-centric technology) showed a growth spurt last year (on a unit basis) that was higher than the previous year by 3 percent — rising to 37 percent in 2009.

In the final quarter of 2009, which included the holiday sales season and continuing discounted prices on a lot of LCD products, even stronger growth was seen on year-over-year unit shipments, climbing 17 percent overall — with a 50-percent jump in LCD television sets. (Most, although not all, large-screen LCD TV sets are 1080p, 1080i or 720p.)

To no great surprise, China led in the growth of flat-panel TV shipments, which more than doubled from calendar years 2008 to 2009.

One big factor that did not increase in 2009 was average screen size, said DisplaySearch. In fact, more smaller-screen units were purchased last year on a percentage basis than the year before — mostly because the smaller panels carried more attractive price points for recession-weary consumers.