While 4K LCD TV shipments hit 1.6 million units during 2013, almost one million of these units were shipped in the fourth quarter of the year. However, these numbers don't tell the full picture, claims the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.
According to the report, the vast majority of the growth in 4K LCD TVs is being driven by China, and while shipments to countries outside of China more than doubled during the fourth quarter, Chinese brands comprised 84 percent of global 4K TV shipments in 2013 and 80 percent of 4K TV shipments in the fourth quarter.
"4K TV remains on an aggressive growth trajectory, but the expectations of the supply chain are extremely high, relative to observed market performance and current retail pricing levels so far," said Paul Gagnon, director of global TV research for NPD DisplaySearch. "With panel price premiums falling rapidly, and a growing chorus of non-Chinese brands pushing 4K, it is possible for retail set prices to fall quickly to improve volume, but at the expense of profits."
The majority of 4K TV volume in China was primarily focused at the smaller end of the spectrum — 39 inches, 50 inches, and 55 inches – while outside of China, 4K TV sizes were focused on larger sets – 55-inch and 65-inch models – sold by Samsung, and other global brands.
"4K is a very important strategy for most brands, but particularly those targeting the high-end TV market," Gagnon noted. "In fact, while Chinese brand Skyworth held the top overall 4K TV shipment share worldwide in 2013, Sony maintained the top shipment share of 4K TVs outside of China, which is a position they have held since the second quarter of 2013, but one which will be challenged significantly this year by low-cost competitors from China and elsewhere."