Continuous panel price drop and rebounding demand will prompt a return to growth in the TV set manufacturing arena, says research from display technology specialist WitsView.

In its report, the analyst calculates that global shipments of branded LCD TV sets for 2017 will likely total 210 million units, a decrease of 4.1 percent compared with the prior year. Yet it also suggests that for 2018, the shipments decline will reverse, and grow by 3.9 percent to 218 million.

WitsView says that TV brands will continue the rise till the Chinese New Year, and will further expand their shipments during global expect sports events such as Winter Olympics, Super Bowl and World Cup. “The panel prices have tumbled more than 17 percent on average since 2Q17,” explained Jeff Yang, assistant research manager of WitsView, “coupled by the sales on China’s annual Singles Day and Black Friday, the shipments continue to rise”.

In terms of individual companies, WitsView predicts that in 2018, Samsung’s TV business will continue to be profit-oriented with product development focusing on QLED TV for high-end market segments. It forecasts that the Korean CE giant’s shares of high-resolution (4KTV) and large-size (49'' or greater) TV sets will both surpass 50 percent in the shipments. In the smaller than 50” market, which has a lower gross margin, Samsung will likely increase the percentage of outsourcing in its manufacturing process to optimize the costs. Overall, Samsung is projected to remain the market leader in 2018 despite of 1 percent shipments drop led by its strategy of maximizing profit.

Encouragingly for an industry that has taken a long time to begin to ramp up, WitsView suggests that the OLED TV market has shown a 'remarkable' performance in 2017, resulting in global shipments of 1.5 million units, a 72 percent rise compared with the previous year. WitsView expects that LG Electronics (LGE) and Sony will continue to expand their OLED offerings in the high-end market, both brands will record slight shipment rise in 2018.

TCL Corporation recorded a shipment of 14.3 million units, ranking the third, as the result of effective vertical integration of its panel, TV assembly and brand business. WitsView expects it to achieve constant shipment rise in 2018 and a yearly growth of 6.7 percent. It sees the manufacturer’s vertical integration as a valuable reference for other brands because this strategy not only secures stable in-house panel supply, but also allows more flexible configuration of costs for the TV sets. – Rapid TV News