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Does 2012 Hold New Opportunities for TVs?


2011 certainly ended as a flat year for flat panel TVs, with November coming in at an eight-month low for flat-panel ASPs, according to this report from iSuppli. Of course, a major downward variable was the deep price cuts on and around Black Friday/post Thanksgiving sales in the US in order to clear inventory and entice consumer spending.  That strategy was successful and also resulted in some consumer price versus feature points for 2012 strategies.

Looking forward, panel market analysts such as DisplaySearch here, are forecasting only a 2% increase in global TV shipment for 2012; although that is a good step up from the anticipated 0.1% growth experienced in 2011.  Leveraging lessons learned in 2011, DisplaySearch forecasts here solid growth of roughly 12% in the larger, 40" and greater sector for flat-panel TVs, as consumers prefer greater size over increased features when budget matters for TV purchases.  Consequently, smaller than 40" TVs are expected to decrease by roughly 3% in volume sales globally during 2012, according to the same report (see also this special report on LED backlighting for LCDs from DisplaySearch).

While LCD TVs have surpassed the 80% market penetration rate, analysts across the industry seem to agree that LCDs will hold the dominant position at least through 2012.  With LED and OLED displays still higher in price, and with consumer spending still constrained, it is unlikely that these technologies can compete (yet) with LCDs (see, for example, this recent OLED review from The Wall Street Journal).  However, with Apple's much rumored, integrated TV to come out in 2H12, perhaps, coupled with the increase in OLED TVs more generally, 2013 is likely to be the initial competitive year for OLED versus LCD TV technologies.

CES 2012 is approaching and there is significant buzz (such as here (slide 17) and here from PCWorld) about the release of larger (55"+) OLED TVs from LG and Samsung to be on display (along with equally impressive prices though) and then move to market.  So, ultrathin laptops (aka "ultrabooks" as coined and trademarked by Intel) will not be the only slim-lined, hot (and high) tickets at CES to watch for!

Keep track of the latest unveilings and market insight here at Smith MarketWatch Commentary reports from the ground, next week, at CES.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 15:53 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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