Flat-panel TV revenues decline as consumers rein in discretionary spending

Global shipments of televisions fell more than 5 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 57.7 million units from more than 60 million units a year earlier —the first such decline in more than two years, according to the latest figures from DisplaySearch.

The display industry analysis firm also found in its latest “Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report” that due to declining average selling price, total TV revenues fell even more, dropping by 7 percent to just more than $30 billion despite flat-panel technologies picking up more than 10 percent unit share.

Combined flat-panel TV revenues, which include LCD, plasma and OLED technologies, posted the first annual decline in a given quarter, falling 3 percent year over year, despite 17 percent growth in unit volume with falling prices affecting revenues.

Globally, flat-panel TV shares surged from 57 percent in the third quarter of 2008 to 66 percent in the fourth quarter as rapidly falling LCD prices stimulated a shift from CRT to LCD.

The declines come as consumers re-evaluate how they spend discretionary dollars, the research firm noted.