Flat-panel TV shipments soften in second quarter, says IHS iSuppli report

Soft consumer demand in an uncertain global economic climate caused a slight dip in worldwide shipments of flat-panel televisions, according to a new "IHS iSuppli Worldwide TV Market Tracker report."

For the quarter, global flat-panel TV shipments totaled 48 million units, down 1.3 percent from 48.7 million in the first quarter. Of the total, LCD TV shipments accounted for 43.4 million units, down 2.7 percent from 44.6 million. However, shipments of flat-panel TVs based on plasma technology reached 4.7 million units, up 13.9 percent from 4.1 million.

According to Lisa Hatamiya, IHS displays researcher, demand in the second quarter of the year typically is stronger than that of the first. But economic concerns took their toll.

"Anxiety over the economy dampened demand in the mature TV markets of North America, Europe and Japan, where purchasing power and discretionary income are highest," she said. Strong sales in the emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region were unable to offset the pullback in developed markets, she added.

Another contributing factor was the impact of China's seasonal sales slump, according to the research firm. China, a major television market, typically sees a sluggish second quarter after the end of a major sales period during Lunar New Year celebrations in either late January or early February.

Despite the contraction, flat-panel revenue grew during the period, due to the introduction of larger TV sizes and feature-rich sets that command a premium in pricing. Such TV sets, offering features like 3-D, Internet connectivity, higher frequencies and LED backlight technology, helped to shore up revenue, the IHS iSuppli report said. Total flat-panel revenue worldwide in the second quarter amounted to $31.5 billion, up 3.6 percent from $30.4 billion in the first quarter.