Plasma TVs are dying
Plasma TVs are dying, sales almost halved in 3 years

14 Oct 2013 | Rasmus Larsen |

TV sales are falling in most regions, except for China and some other parts of Asia - but the data also reveals another trend. Plasma TVs are dying and only accounted for 5 % of global TV sales in Q2 2013.

Plasma TV sales almost halved in 3 years

DisplaySearch’s data tells a story of declining TV sales in Europe and the US, and slowing growth in China. The 3D and Smart TV features have not been enough to sustain growth, so TV makers are hoping that 4K and OLED technology can change things.

The data also reveals another, possibly more disturbing, trend. Plasma TVs are dying, even though they are still preferred by many enthusiasts. The data for Q2 2013 shows that plasma TV sales fell 19 % year-on-year. The trend has been evident for some time now, and it appears that no reversal is in sight. Since 2010, sales of plasma TVs have almost halved.

Sales of plasma TVs
In 000s, Source: DisplaySearch, aggregated by FlatpanelsHD

The end is near

As you know Pioneer exited the market in 2008 after years of losses. In the years leading up to that decision several TV makers opted to support LCD technology. In the years since 2008, three of the major TV makers have supported the plasma technology; Panasonic, Samsung, and LG.

All three manufacturers are still selling plasma TVs, but Samsung and LG seem to have scaled down in recent years. This year, LG has decided not to launch a high-end model and instead release only low-end and mid-range plasma TVs. Samsung has released a high-end plasma TV, but the line-up is heavily amputated compared to just a few years ago.

However, Panasonic has been through the most dramatic change. After having supported plasma TVs for many years, Panasonic started selling large-size LCD TVs a few years ago, with a full line-up in the last 2-3 years. Panasonic has closed several plasma TV factories, and the rumor goes that they intend to close the last factory by March 2014, which means that the current plasma TV line-up could be the last.

Manufacturers of plasma TVs have faced several challenges. LCD TVs are become much better in the last few years and large-size LCD TVs have become much cheaper. Consumers have demanded slimmer and more elegant TVs, and energy consumption requirements have also made it difficult for plasma makers to maneuver in the market – despite efforts to solve the problem.

Plasma TV sales have been on the decline for a few years now, and it seems that the death blow is near. One might find comfort in the fact that OLED technology will soon be mature enough to take over, but farewells are always difficult.

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