Covid-19 pandemic slows flat-panel TV shipments by 3%

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Uncertain 2020 economic conditions caused by Covid-19 is negatively affecting the global flat-panel TV market as overall flat-panel TV market experienced a sharp decline in first quarter of 2020 despite the excitement around 8K TV sets.

Analyst firm ABI Research is forecasting that 222 million flat-panel TVs will ship in 2020, a 3% decrease from 2019.

Stay-at-home orders and subsequent economic upheaval have laid a serious blow to global economic activities, leading to less consumer spending on non-essential consumer electronic equipment, ABI said, adding it is also causing a slowdown in households upgrading to premium TV sets.

Major TV manufactures have reported nearly 18% year-on-year decline in flat-panel TV unit shipments in the first quarter, and despite the government’s efforts to reopen the economies, the downturn is expected to hurt flat-panel TV market through the end of the year.

“These conditions are likely to accelerate a decline in the sales price, too. TV makers will also need to focus on optimizing sales channels and structures based on new market demands,” noted Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research.

While the flat panel TV market is experiencing challenges, Covid-19 has had the opposite impact on the streaming media device market, ABI said. Video streaming services became more popular during lockdown due to their low-cost compared to pay-TV.

The increase in streaming services caused a surge in streaming media adapter shipments of more than four million units versus 2019 shipments. Key vendors such as Roku and Fire TV reported a significant increase in sales volumes during the first quarter of 2020. To capitalize on the opportunity in the market, TiVo launched a 4K Stream 4K device in May 2020.

Although Covid-19 is contributing to the sharp rise in streaming services and the streaming device market, the increase in video streaming demand is likely to continue beyond the pandemic.

“The launch of new services along with bolstered broadband connectivity across different regions will accelerate the adoption of video streaming services and devices. This phenomenon is expected to contribute to the declining use of physical media devices such as the Blu-Ray media player,” commented Lynn. 

Despite the headwinds caused by Covid-19 in 2020, the global flat-panel TV market is expected to rebound from 2021 as businesses continue to reopen. The market is projected to grow at CAGR 4.3% to reach 275 million units in 2025.

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