Shipments of LED-LCD-based television sets surpassed original forecasts for North America, according to recent end-of-year shipment figures tallied by consumer electronics research firm IHS Markit.

IHS said total LCD-based televisions shipped 43.3 million units to North America last year, up 3.7% from 2017 category shipments. This represented the lion’s share of the total 43.8 million flat-panel TV unit shipments to the region in 2018.

The remaining 524,000 units shipped to the area last year were models based on newer organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology, which grew 15% from 456,000 units in 2017.

IHS said the LED-LCD TV volume was up 4.3% from its earlier forecasts for 41.9 million units, while shipments to the region of OLED TVs slightly under performed earlier IHS predictions of 688,000 units for 2018.

The higher uptake of LCD models was attributed in part to retailers possibly purchasing greater supplies of mostly smaller screen TVs in advance of threatened tariffs on China-made TVs.

Paul Gagnon, IHS Market executive director of research and analysis, told us that “Q4’18 actual shipments were quite a bit higher than expected, which we think was the result of retailers increasing some purchasing of smaller sizes that would have been impacted by a tariff on TVs from China, which never materialized.”

According to the final numbers for the 2018 unit shipments for North America, screen sizes measuring 50-59 inches where the strongest moving segment in the period, with 13.3 million units, up 11.5% from 2017. It was the second year in a row that the 50-59 inch screen size segment represented the largest share of North America TV screen size shipments.

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The next largest moving screen size for 2018 was 30-39 inches at 11.2 million units, followed by 40-49 inches at 10.3 million units for the year.

The 60-inch and up segment represented the largest growth segment among screen sizes at nearly 7 million units, up 21% from 5.8 million units in 2017.

By resolution, 80.5% of TV shipments measuring 40-inches and larger were 4K Ultra HDTV (3840 x 2160). Models with 4K resolution were almost entirely 40-inches and larger (this is predicted to drop to 11.5% in 2019. Only 19.5% of televisions measuring 40-inches and up in North America had Full HD 1080p resolution and none had only HD (1280 x 720) resolution or lower in 2018, IHS reported.

IHS was still revising its forecasts for 2019 TV unit shipments, but its latest available forecasts called for overall LED-LCD TV shipment volumes to the region dipping slightly to 41.7 million units, while OLED televisions are expected to grow to 771,000 units in North America in 2019. Overall TV shipments to the region were forecast to be down slightly at 42.46 million units, with shipments of 50-inch and largers models up significantly, as all other screen size segments decline.

At the higher end of the global TV market, IHS previously issued forecasts for worldwide shipments of OLED TVs growing more than 40% in 2019, to 3.6 million units. Comparatively, IHS predicted global shipments of quantum dot LED-LCD TV shipments topping 4 million units in 2019, helped by the entry of more participating brands and more aggressive pricing.

As for televisions based on new 8K (Ultra HD) resolution Gagnon said IHS Markit forecasts call for for 43,000 units to North America in 2019. This prediction was based on likely adoption rates, introduction timing and price premiums for 8K sets in 2019. Currently, Samsung is the only brand selling an 8K Ultra HD TV in North America, but it will be joined shortly by more screen sizes and the entry of several more brands including, Sony, LG and possibly others, by the end of the year.


By Greg Tarr


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