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U.S. TV Shipments Decline in Q1

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.—Shipments of television sets in the United States declined by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to one year earlier, according to a TV Systems Intelligence update from information and analytics provider IHS.

U.S. TV shipments dropped to 6.6 million units, down from 7.4 million in the first quarter of 2012. Liquid-crystal display televisions decreased by 7 percent, while plasma dropped 39 percent.

However, the average selling price for LCD TVs increased 3 percent, driven by consumer confidence and a focus on more full-featured products and larger screen sizes.

The fall in the United States reflected the worldwide decrease of TV shipments during the first quarter, but global shipments declined by less than 2 percent.

The contraction in global volumes was driven by the reduction in demand for analog cathode ray tube and plasma sets. Other contributing factors included a cutback in LCD TV manufacturing volumes by Japanese vendors and a repositioning of the mature markets toward fewer, larger-sized TV sets.

As a result of the ASP increase for LCD TVs, revenue was relatively stable by comparison, with total TV revenue dropping by 11 percent in line with total shipments, while LCD TV revenue declined by 4 percent.

“The U.S. market is starting to reposition toward higher-end TV sets,” said Veronica Thayer, analyst for consumer electronics & technology at IHS. “Now that most homes have at least one flat-panel TV, consumers have become more discerning in their tastes and place more value on features like light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting, supersized screens and interactive smart TVs.”

LCD TV sets larger than 50 inches in the diagonal dimension accounted for 27 percent of U.S. LCD TV unit shipments in the first quarter, up from 15 percent in 2012. These sets represented over half of all U.S. LCD TV revenue, at 53 percent, up from 39 percent one year earlier.

Primarily because of increased shipments of 50-inch and 60-inch sets, the ASP for LCD TVs in the United States increased year-on-year in the first quarter to $704, up from $682.

Meanwhile, LED-backlit sets increased their share to 72 percent, up from 37 percent during the first quarter of 2012. LED sets accounted for 76 percent of total TV revenue, up from 52 percent.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. earned the highest revenue from the U.S. market for all types of TVS and in the LCD TV segment. Samsung accounted for 31 percent of overall U.S. television market revenue during the first three months of 2013, up from 30 percent during the same period in 2012. The company also expanded its share of U.S. LCD TV revenue to 28 percent.

Vizio Inc. also increased its share of TV revenue, rising to 16 percent from 11 percent in 2012. The company also boosted its portion of U.S. LCD TV revenue to 18 percent, up from 14 percent one year earlier, partially due to the 60-inch, and aided by the brand’s entry into Best Buy.

In terms of volume, the total number of sets shipped was led by Samsung, with 1.6 million units in the first quarter this year. But Vizio beat Samsung on U.S. LCD TV volume during the period by a few thousand units.