China's TCL has surged to the top of the North American TV market for the first time, according to IHS Markit. However, Samsung still has a significant lead in terms of revenue.
TCL on the rise
In the first quarter of 2019, TCL's share of North American TV shipments surged to 26%, up from around 16% in the first quarter of 2018.
That puts TCL in the lead ahead of Samsung who saw its market share of shipments decline from 28% last year to 21.8%. Vizio ranked third, LG fourth, and Funai fifth. A total of 9.3 million TVs were shipped in North America during the quarter, which is a historic high, said IHS Markit.
The analyst firm warns that an escalation of the US-China trade war may reverse TCL's fortunes.
- "Amid rising concerns about tariffs arising from the U.S. China trade dispute, TCL and other TV brands that rely heavily on China-based manufacturing have been increasing shipments dramatically," said Paul Gagnon, research executive director, IHS Markit. "As uncertainty mounts around a possible tariff-driven rise in costs, these brands have been bolstering shipments to protect against any potential disruption. Given that margins for TVs are relatively low compared to other consumer-electronics categories, any tariff increase would have a major impact on sales."
Despite TCL's leadership position in terms of shipments, Samsung still has a significant lead in terms of revenue. LG also managed to stay ahead of TCL, while Sony entered top-5. That is because Samsung, LG, and Sony generally sell larger and more expensive premium TVs.
- "The erosion in LCD-TV average selling prices (ASPs) in North America reached a high level of intensity in the first quarter. In fact, the first quarter marked the first time that the average price-per-inch of an LCD-TV fell below $10. The overall average price of a 65-inch LCD TV declined to nearly the same level as during the fourth quarter of 2018, when TV prices dropped because of holiday season sales," said IHS Markit. "The 55-inch average price was near $500, lower than during the fourth quarter of 2018. Amid this high level of LCD-TV ASP erosion, OLED TV shipments have now fallen year-over-year for the second straight quarter."
IHS Markit also noted that worldwide TV shipments rose 2.1% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the first quarter of 2018. In China, Xiaomi remains the leader with a 19% share of TV shipments.