Seven out of 10 premium TVs costing US$2,500 or more sold in the third quarter of this year were made by Korean companies. Among the top three global TV makers, Sony saw its market share drop 3 percentage points from the first quarter, while Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics expanded their market shares by 5 percentage points and 1 percentage point, respectively.
According to market researcher IHS Markit on Nov. 22, global TV shipments in the third quarter of this year stood at 53.96 million units, up a mere 0.1% from the same period of last year. In particular, Chinese companies trailed industry leaders in terms of quantity. Chinese TV maker TCL boosted its share from 7.9% in the first quarter to 9% while that of HiSense increased from 6.2% to 7.5%. Even though Samsung and LG retained their first and second places, respectively, their markets shares slid to 17.3% from 19.2% and to 11.3% from 13.2%, respectively. Samsung's market share fell to the lowest since 2011.
However, it is a different story in terms of sales figures. In terms of quantity, the gap between TCL and LG was about 2 percentage points, but in terms of sales figures, the gap widened by 8.7 percentage points. Samsung and LG recorded a combined 43.8% market share in terms of sales figures in the third quarter of this year. This means that the two Korean makers’ market share in terms of sales figures was nearly double their market share (28.6%) in terms of quantity. The two Korean TV giants boosted their market shares in terms of sales figures as a result of concentrating on highly lucrative premium products.
In fact, Korean companies enjoyed an overwhelming share in the premium TV market. Samsung and LG accounted for 69.9% in the segment of premium TVs costing more than US$2,500 in the third quarter. Samsung’s market share increased to 48.2% in the third quarter from 43.3% in the first quarter, while that of LG rose to 21.7% in the third quarter from 20.9% in the first quarter. As a result, they widened their gaps with Sony in the premium TV market. In the segment of 75-inch or bigger TVs, Samsung and LG accounted for a combined 71% in the third quarter. In particular, LG scaled up its market share by 3.3 percentage points from the first quarter.
The duel between Samsung (QLED TVs) and LG (OLED TVs) has been intensifying. In the third quarter, QLED TVs, which were introduced by Samsung last year, sold 663,000 units, beating OLED TVs which sold 559,000 units. Analysts say QLED TV sales could outclass OLED TV sales thanks to their relatively low prices. IHS Markit predicted that QLED TVs would sell about 4.7 million units, 1.1 million units more than OLED TVs (3.6 million units) next year.
However, OLED TVs still eclipsed QLED TVs in terms of cumulative sales. Cumulative sales of LG OLED TVs until the third quarter of this year hit US$4.4 billion, 12.8% more than those of Samsung QLED TVs (US$3.9 billion). In terms of cumulative sales volume, QLED TVs stood at 1.58 million units, which was lower than 1.61 million units of OLED TVs.
The point is whether or not Samsung's 8K QLED TVs, which are four times clearer than 4K TVs, will grow. Samsung is expected to step up marketing efforts as 8K TVs have received better-than-expected responses in the market for 70-inch or bigger TVs. Samsung's market share in the market for 75-inch or bigger TVs declined to 54.1% in the third quarter from 58.5% in the first quarter but is expected to rebound as 8K TVs are gaining more popularity.