The global TV market grew 2.9% in 2018, reaching 221 million units, due to a sales surge in the first half of the year as many consumers upgraded their TVs to watch the Football World Cup.
Shipments of richly featured TV sets continued to grow. In fact in the fourth quarter of 2018, and for the first time, more than half of all shipments were ultra-high definition (UHD) TVs and screen sizes also continued to swell, according to IHS Markit.
“Average new TV screen sizes are still growing at least one inch per year,” said Paul Gray, research director, IHS Markit.
“Western Europe and Latin America, in particular, exceed this benchmark in 2018. With falling LCD panel prices, consumers clearly care more about trading-up in size than about spending less money. Even in Japan, where consumers have been resistant to buying large TVs, the average screen size increased year over year.”
UHD TV shipments reached 99 million units, propelled by larger screen sizes. China led the global market with 30.1 million TVs shipped in 2018, followed by North America with 24.7 million. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of TV sets in Western Europe shipped with UHD resolution in the fourth quarter of 2018, the largest share of any global region.
Just 18,600 8K TVs shipped globally in 2018.
“The launch of an 8K channel by Japan’s broadcasting corporation, NHK, was an important landmark last year, which led to an acceleration in 8K TV shipments in Japan during the fourth quarter of 2018,” Gray said.
Smart TVs that support UHD through streaming services continued to rise in volume shipped in 2018. More than three-quarters of TVs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018 were smart TVs. In North America more than 85 percent of all TVs were smart TVs, which is 10 percentage points higher than the previous year.
Led by record shipments to Japan and Western Europe, just under 1 million (900,000) OLED TVs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2018, rising 20 percent over the prior year. Thanks to increasing competition, large-screen 55-inch OLED TVs hit new levels of affordability in Western Europe. Meanwhile, OLED TV shipments to North America fell 26 percent, year over year, due in part to aggressive price declines in very large LCD TV sizes.