Sharp will launch 4K OLED TVs, based on LG Display panels, after its 8K LCD TVs have failed to excite buyers in Japan, pushing down Sharp to third place in domestic market share, according to Nikkei.
Sharp slips to third place
Sharp has seen little succes with its 8K LCD TVs, despite the launch of 8K broadcasts in late 2018 and the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics that will be captured and broadcast in 8K in Japan.
Sharp was the leading TV brand in Japan in 2018, according to market share data by IHS Markit, but it slipped to third place in the first three quarters of 2019, trailing Sony and Panasonic. Other Japanese brands have captured sales by launching 4K OLED TVs, according to sales data.
- "Sharp's struggles at the high end are the biggest reason. Sony and Panasonic are expanding sales of TVs using organic light-emitting diode displays, which have proved popular in Japan," said Nikkei citing data from IHS Markit.
Using a competitor's panels
Today, Sharp is owned primarily by Foxconn and it is producing its own 8K LCD TV panels. The OLED panels in its new 4K OLED TVs, however, are produced by LG Display. It is noteworthy that Sharp has been forced to turn to its South Korean competitor to stay competitive in the TV market, and it is obviously bad news for its 8K ambitions.
The company had planned to launch 8K LCD TVs in Europe and the US in early 2019 but like other TV makers it decided to postpone the launch. Meanwhile, many leading TV makers have announced plans to launch their first OLED TVs in 2020, including Vizio, Huawei and Xiaomi. Multiple Chinese manufacturers will also expand their OLED TV business to Europe and the US.
In Japan, Sharp's OLED TVs will launch in spring in 55 and 65 inches starting at 300,000 yen. The company has not commented on its plans for Europe or North America.
It is not just Sharp who is struggling to sell 8K LCD TVs. As a result, IHS Markit has revised its global sales forecast for 8K TVs down from 430,000 to just 140,000 units in 2019 and down from 2 million to 630,000 units in 2020.
- Source: Nikkei