In the first quarter of 2019, Smart TVs accounted for 89% of TV shipments in North American. Roku is now leading the pack ahead of Android, Samsung Tizen and LG webOS, according to IHS Markit.
Roku rises to the top
Roku has passed Tizen to become the best-selling Smart TV platform in North America. That is according to IHS Markit who characterizes it as "an unintended consequence of the U.S.-China trade dispute".
89% of all TVs sold in North America are now Smart TVs - a record high. In the first quarter of 2019, shipments of Roku-based sets represented 37% of Smart TVs, up from 23% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
This makes Roku the top platform for the first time since 2017, pushing Samsung's Tizen to second place. Tizen is available only in Samsung TVs whereas Roku is used in TVs from various brands, including China's TCL.
- "The boom in Chinese TV sales put Roku at the top of the North American market for the first time since the third quarter of 2017," said Paul Gray, research director, IHS Markit. "Roku outstripped Samsung’s Tizen and LG’s webOS because of the popularity of the low-priced Chinese smart TVs."
Tied to success of Chinese TV makers
Ironically, Roku's achievement is tied to the success of Chinese TV makers.
- "Fears of increased tariffs arising from the U.S.-China trade dispute spurred TCL and other TV brands reliant on Chinese manufacturing to increase shipments to North America in early 2019," Gray said. "These companies hoped to build safety stocks and generate as much sales volume as possible before pricing was impacted by the tariffs. This strategy boosted sales of Chinese-made smart TVs during the quarter."
IHS Markit added that "Roku’s North American market share stands out sharply compared to other regions, given that the OS holds only an 8 percent share of smart TV shipments worldwide".
IHS' report tracks shipments but Roku is also leading (42% share) in terms of usage (measured in streaming viewing hours) ahead of FireTV (19%), Apple tvOS (10%) and Xbox (10%), according to global data from Conviva who is also including streaming boxes and consoles.
As a result, IHS Markit has boosted its Smart TV forecast and now expects Smart TVs to rise to more than 85% of shipments in 2023 across North America, Western and Eastern Europe, China and Latin America.
- Source: IHS Markit