Samsung Reduces its TV Set Targets

By Bob Raikes

According to reports from Taiwan, confirmed to LDM by industry sources, say that Samsung has reduced its business plan for TVs this year from around 48/49 million at the end of 2017 to around 44 million, although some suggest this might even go down to 42 million because of weak demand and because the company is trying to stay premium to maintain or improve margins. Although Samsung doesn’t itself confirm or publish its plans, the news has acted to dampen the market for TV LCD panels.

LG has been less affected and is expected to be around the level of last year at 28 to 29 million units – the level it has been at for several years, and Sony is also expected to be broadly flat on 2016 over the year although some sources are expecting a 7% to 8% increase.

Sharp, of course, remains aggressive and is still expected to reach over nine million units this year, up from less than five million in 2016. Internal targets are reported to be even higher. Having broken its relationship with Samsung at the end of last year, Sharp’s panel business needs the TV business to buy a lot of panels, or the company will have to find other buyers. Having seen how Sharp broke away from Samsung, they may be put off, although prices could probably be made tempting!

Chinese vendors are now looking to be flat or perhaps up 5% over the year.

Analyst Comment

We hear informally that Samsung may be having a tough time in the premium segment with its QLED TVs. The decision not to use full array processing to back up the undoubted quality in high brightness and colour volume seems not to be resonating with buyers. It has long been a truism of the TV market that the sets with the highest contrast always capture the fussy buyers and that means OLEDs. Doubts among the pickiest buyers about the lifetime of OLED seem to have gone away and specialist and user reviews are very positive. The fact that Sony and Panasonic have also endorsed OLED for top end TVs will have sent a strong signal to the market. Both companies have a very deep understanding of really top image quality.

LG is also benefiting from the new form factor of the Wallpaper TV which will be attracting people towards OLED, even if the price puts potential buyers off. (BR)