Vizio retakes top U.S. LCD TV market position

Michelle Clancy | 13-07-2012

A year after falling to second place in the US LCD TV market, Vizio has reclaimed leadership in the first quarter of 2012 thanks to its affordability, according to a reprot by IHS Screen Digest.

California-based Vizio during the first three months of 2012 shipped 1.21 million LCD TVs in the United States, compared to 1.15 million units for chief rival Samsung. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Samsung led with shipments of 2.5 million units, compared to just 1.6 million for Vizio. The last time Vizio led the U.S. LCD TV market was one year earlier, in the first quarter of 2011.

Vizio's recapturing of its first-place ranking came during a period of weak sales and shipments in general for LCD TVs, IHS noted. U.S. LCD-TV market shipments in the first quarter amounted to 6.6 million units, down 13% from 7.6 million in the first quarter of 2011. Shipments were also down 39% from the fourth quarter of 2011, although a sequential decline in shipments is normal following the peak holiday selling season.

"The US television market became saturated with higher-end products at the end of 2011," said Tom Morrod, senior analyst and head of TV technology at IHS. "When sales dropped according to normal seasonal patterns in the first quarter, shipments also fell for most brands. However, because of its low-cost product mix that appeals to mainstream consumers, Vizio was able to prevent its shipments from declining by a large margin."

Speaking of seasonality, Vizio's television shipments in the first quarter declined by 25% compared to the fourth quarter, which is lower than the industry average, and represented the smallest rate of contraction among the Top 5 brands. This allowed Vizio's market share to climb to 19% in the first quarter, up sharply from 15% in the fourth quarter.

"Vizio benefitted from its focus on midrange and smaller sizes for LCD TVs that are sold at relatively low prices compared to larger, more feature-laden sets," Morrod said. "Vizio, in fact, dominates in the U.S. market for 32-inch and 42-inch sets—the most popular sizes in the country for LCD TVs."