In 2014, LCD TV shipments grew more than 7 percent worldwide, with improved demand growth in developed regions, but slowing growth in emerging markets. The outlook for 2015 is not as strong as previously forecast, according to the latest Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report from IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight. Worldwide LCD TV shipments are expected to grow just 4 percent this year (235 million sets), as previously strong demand in North America, Europe, and other developed regions declines.
“Last year's LCD TV shipment growth in many regions was surprisingly strong, especially in North America, the world's second-largest TV marketplace, although such strong growth is difficult to maintain,” said Paul Gagnon, director of TV research for IHS. “Growth was driven by the release of pent-up demand and a wave of screen-size upgrades by consumers, after several years of shipment declines.”
At the same time, many countries are facing rising economic headwinds, especially currency deflation, which will cause retail prices for TVs to fall more slowly and perhaps result in some price increases, if deflation becomes severe. Such an impact could lower demand for discretionary spending, especially in Eastern Europe, where the forecast for 2015 has been lowered by 18 percent year over year. Nonetheless, for the next two years, LCD TV shipment growth is expected to remain above 2013 levels.
As consumers continue to upgrade their TVs-especially in developed regions where the average screen size for installed TVs is just 32 inches-high-resolution 4K LCD TV shipments will continue to grow. Shipments of 4K LCD TVs totaled 11.7 million sets last year, which is very close to the 12.3 million units forecasted at the beginning of the year. With prices falling rapidly for many large 1080p screen sizes, premium prices for 4K TV became a top-tier feature in most regions, which helped mitigate overall price declines. Shipments of 4K LCD TV and OLED TVs are expected to exceed 3 million sets in 2015, and more than 60 percent of those shipments will have screens that are 50 inches and larger.
On a price-per-inch basis, the average premium price for 4K TVs, compared to 1080p TVs, will fall from 143 percent to less than 100 percent in 2015. “4K resolution still carries a substantial premium, compared to other features,” Gagnon said. “It will remain a high-end technology; however, the affordability of 4K TVs continues to improve and, among the largest screen sizes, we expect 1080p offerings to start fading,” Gagnon said.