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Growth in QLED TVs fails to give a boost to weak overall market bitten by Covid-19

(Image credit: Future)

Shipments of QLED TVs, led by strong marketing push from Samsung, are expected to grow by 41.8% to reach 8.27m units compared to 5.83m units last year amid Covid-19, an industry expert said.

In the shrinking TV market, brands are vying for business growth by demonstrating their technical superiority and this may be achieved through either improving specifications or differentiating their products.

At the same time, OLED TV shipments are expected to increase by a mere 7.8% year on year to total 3.38m units, which is a 26.1% decrease from the original number forecasted at the start of 2020.

Iris Hu, Research Manager at WitsView division of TrendForce, said that global TV shipments are expected to undergo a 5.8% decrease and reach 205.21m units in 2020 compared to 217.80m units last year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that there has been a surge in the demand for TVs that are 43 inches and under, which are suitable for work from home usages.

Moreover, she said the longer time spent at home means the public now also spends more time watching TV and due to that, demand for a better viewing experience unexpectedly resulted in a wave of replacement demand for 65-inch TVs by the end of April this year.

Owing to its technical and cost advantages, Samsung was able to not only occupy more than 90% share of the QLED TV market last year but also drive up the overall QLED TV shipment to 5.83m units, a 230% increase year on year,” she said.

Demand for ultra-high-end TVs bleak

According to TrendForce, Huawei is making a major push with QLED product development as its entry point into the high-end TV market.

Huawei made its foray into the TV market last year by releasing a pair of Honor Vision-branded smart TVs with consumer-friendly prices.

Hu said that Huawei is expected to compete with Vizio for the number two spot in terms of QLED TV shipment this year.

Although many TV brands, including Sharp, Huawei, Xiaomi and Vizio are releasing OLED TV sets this year, TrendForce does not have an entirely optimistic outlook on the future demand for ultra-high-end TVs.

Aside from the pandemic-induced slowdown in OLED demand, Hu said the more flexible pricing of QLED products will also represent a substantial threat to the sales of OLED TVs this year since the latter has historically maintained a high retail price.

On the other hand, she said that both market leader LG Electronics and Sony have revised down their shipment targets for OLED TVs this year.

“The mid-January onset of the pandemic in China compelled LG Display employees, who performed technical roles at its Gen 8.5 OLED fab in Guangzhou to begin mass production in the first quarter, to return to Korea due to certain technical constraints and this, in turn, is going to delay LGD’s mass production of OLED panels,” Hu said.