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Although overall TV shipments in the third quarter of 2018 were flat compared to the previous year, the average TV unit-shipment screen size increased more than any previous quarter in more than a year. While strong seasonality from promotions for the World Cup raised TV unit sales more than 7% in the first half of the year, Western Europe, Latin America, and Middle East and Africa all experienced double-digit TV shipment year-over-year declines in the third quarter, according to IHS Markit.
Global shipments of 60-inch and larger TV screen sizes increased more than 40%, year over year in the third quarter, with even stronger growth in North America and emerging markets, as prices fell to new lows for 65-inch and 75-inch sizes. This growth rate is more than 10% higher than in recent quarters.
“Each year during the holiday shopping season, brands and retailers try to push ever larger screen sizes to keep revenues growing and encourage adoption of value-added features like 4K and smart TV,” said Paul Gagnon, research and analysis executive director, IHS Markit. “This year, there’s higher interest in 65-inch 4K TVs for many of the key promotional deals, leading to less focus on smaller screen sizes under 50 inches.”
Growth in larger size TVs leads to a rising share of 4K resolutions since larger sizes have already largely completed the transition from 1080p to 4K. In fact, the share of 4K TV shipments in the third quarter reached a record high of nearly 44%. Due to sustained premiums and larger average size, 4K TVs made up more than 71% of all TV revenues during the quarter. 8K TV shipments are still very small, with just one brand currently shipping a very small number of units in Japan and China. IHS Markit expects additional brands to start shipping 8K TVs by the end of 2018.
Prices of 65-inch 4K LCD TVs fell to an average of $1,110 in North America during the third quarter, from $1,256 in the previous quarter. In China, the average price of 65-inch TVs was even lower – just $928, after already falling below $1,000 in the second quarter. Xiaomi and other brands have aggressively pushed prices lower as competition intensifies in China. In other regions, prices were considerably higher for 65-inch 4K TVs, due to less intense retail competition and a smaller addressable market.
OLED TV shipments were down slightly in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, with the anticipated promotional focus shifting to LCD for the holiday season. LCD TV shipments increased by 14%, quarter over quarter. Quantum dot LCD TV shipments rose to 663,000 units in the third quarter, with an average size exceeding 60-inches. The average size of OLED TVs increased to more than 59 inches for the first time, as the 65-inch shipments share grew to a new high of more than 38%.