The worldwide television market is forecast to grow to 234 million units in 2014, representing a 3% growth from 2013, according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.

However, 2014 is projected to see a 4% fall in trade value to $97 billion, reflecting a decline in average retail prices from $652 to $608.

“The anticipated boost from the World Cup in the first half of the year has been followed by a better than expected Q3. Europe is forecast to exceed 57 million units in 2014, with Western Europe enjoying 2% year-on-year growth, while Eastern Europe remains flat,” said Jack Wetherill, senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“The North American market is anticipated to be stable at 40 million units in 2014, with Latin America on track to achieve 17% growth this year to 32 million units. Most countries in this region have yet to complete their analogue switch offs.

“Asia Pacific is forecast to see 88 million shipments in 2014. This region is forecast to grow at 4% CAGR until 2018, when it will exceed 100 million units. This market has yet to reach saturation and the digital switchover in some countries is still to be completed. It is anticipated that the worldwide TV market will grow at 3% CAAGR until 2018, when shipments will exceed 260 million units.”

4K sets are expected to ship 11.6 million units in 2014, up nearly 700% year on year, with China accounting for over 70% of worldwide demand. In Western Europe and North America, share of 4K demand in 2014 will represent 10% and 8% respectively, with demand expected to grow at 72% CAGR until 2018.

“4K adoption is forecast to grow quickly from 2015 onwards with over 100 million shipments projected in 2018, representing 38% of the total TV market, said David Tett, research analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

“An indication that 4K is quickly becoming mainstream was the availability of many sets at discounted prices during last month’s Black Friday.”

Sales of 4K TVs are expected to be concentrated on the larger screen sizes, generally 50″+, but screens below 40″ will become more widely available with 4K in the coming years. Native 4K content remains scarce and many consumers are currently buying sets on the basis that they can upscale HD content and will be future-proof, in preparation for when native 4K content is more widely available.

Futuresource anticipates that 2014 will see sales of smart TVs account for over half of the market for the first time, rising to 82% of sales by 2018, as smart features remain an important factor to many consumers.

“Although the industry spotlight is focused upon UHD and curved screens, smart TV continues to permeate the market as a value added feature, and UI refinements like voice and gesture recognition, tile-driven navigation and device mirroring have substantial consumer appeal at point of sale as part of a premium set proposition,” says Wetherill.

“The migration to larger screens is expected to continue,” added Tett, “partly aided by 4K, as the benefits of the higher resolution are easier to see in the larger screen sizes. 50″+ sets (both HD and 4K) are forecast to account for almost 25% of the market in 2018, in comparison with 18% currently. The USA leads the way followed closely by the Asia pacific region.

“There is some concern amongst the content community that owners of such sets will be disappointed when they do eventually receive a regular native 4K source, perhaps unable to perceive the improvement that they had hoped for versus 1080p.”