Global shipments across all makes and models amounted to 238.5 million units, down 6.3% from 254.6 million in 2011. IHS is forecasting that shipments will not return to 2011 levels until 2015, when they will amount to 253.1 million units.
“Television shipments in 2012 declined for the first time for more than a decade, sounding the coda for the flat-panel replacement wave that deluged the business throughout the 2000s,” said Tom Morrod, TV systems analyst at IHS. “While some specific events contributed to the downturn of 2012, such as the fall of sales to the Japanese market, the decline reflects a fundamental slowdown in the television market, with liquid crystal display television (LCD TV) shipments falling for the first time ever. Although television shipments will stabilize in 2013 and growth will return in 2014, developed markets have become saturated with flat-panel televisions.”
The TV market had already been enduring a slowdown prior to 2012 with shipments rising by 11.6 percent in 2010 and decelerating to 1 percent in 2011. By the beginning of this decade, most consumers in developed regions already had replaced their old cathode-ray tube (CRT) sets with flat-panel models, and many buyers in emerging economies had also made the switch.
The North American and Western European regions in 2012 both experienced significant shipment declines. Meanwhile, growth stalled in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Eastern Europe and China were the only regions to continue to enjoy rising shipments
The biggest reduction occurred in Japan, where shipments fell by 13.5 million units in 2012, accounting for the vast majority of the global decline of 16.0 million.