4K set to add value to rebounding TV set market
Editor | 26-04-2014
Following what has generally been accepted as a weak 2013, the global TV set market is set to bounce back in 2014 with the nascent 4K/UltraHD segment beginning to grow in value, says a new Futuresource Consulting report.

The analyst calculates that in 2013 overall TV set revenues and shipments slipped 4% and 2.6% year on year respectively. TV revenues were $104 billion at trade. Yet despite this, Futuresource says there were pockets of profit, namely the Chinese market which ramped up in 2013 to reach 47 million units, thanks mainly to a government subsidy programme bolstering a particularly strong H1. Latin America and MEA also enjoyed growth, with flat panel volumes up 3% and 6% respectively.

"Flat panel saturation in developed markets has resulted in oversupply and has been exerting downward pressure on vendor profitability," explained Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst, Futuresource Consulting. "Moreover, the stimulus provided by the switchover from analogue to digital in the years up to 2012 did not carry over into 2013.

"However... as we progress through 2014 we're going to see the global TV market grow by around 1% to exceed 230 million units, with the majority of growth being derived from Latin America, Middle East and Africa and emerging Asia Pacific. Value will be driven even higher, with forecasts of nearly 2%, on track to exceed $105 billion."

Very much part of this value sector will be 4KTV, towards which Futuresource expects panel makers and TV vendors will look to push new generation 4KTV sets that should generate higher margins. Indeed Futuresource forecasts that 4K sets will account for 5% of the global TV market this year, rising to 42% by 2018. Besides attractive pricing, the analyst suggests that the industry is hoping that the ability of many of the sets to upscale from HD will encourage consumers to buy the sets in advance of the content industry gearing up for widespread 4K content capture and distribution. Alongside Sony, Samsung the top overall global TV vendor in 2013 has also taken an early lead in the 4K market.

Connected TV sets are also cited as part of the value mix and Futuresource sees them continuing to grow their share of the TV market, accounting for 39% of global volumes in 2013, rising to 87% by 2018, with vendors integrating the technology further into their product line-ups in order to maximise consumer uptake of the associated connected services.
Curved sets are also seen as offering an additional path to promote sales and higher margins, a number of TV vendors have introduced curved sets to the market, promoting them as providing a more immersive experience and reducing reflection and glare.

"While curved sets may form a niche market in larger screen sizes, it remains to be seen to what extent consumers will be convinced by the benefits of curved sets, particularly in the mid to low screen size bracket," added William Pratt, research analyst, Futuresource Consulting.