TV Sales Soften Worldwide: Even The World Cup Couldn't Save Sales This Year

According to a DisplaySearch report, global TV shipment growth is down to 17% from 26% last year. This means that there is a general slow-down of TV sales in the US and Europe and, even though the World Cup should have driven massive sales this summer, unsold inventory is backing up in Asia.

All is not lost, however. Plasma shipments are up slightly as are LCD models. DLP rear projection is also up. Generally, however, sales are slowest they’ve been since Q4 of 2008. It’s not that TVs aren’t selling – they’re just selling more slowly than they were even last year.

DisplaySearch also found that Samsung is number one in worldwide sales followed by LG, Sony, and Panasonic.

There are a few obvious reasons for this and one not so obvious – but exciting – one. First, folks don’t have money. That’s a given. TVs are probably the last thing you’ll ever upgrade or buy in the house, especially a house that is probably already overrun with screens. My son put water all over our six-year-old JVC DLP and, even though there’s a big blotch in the corner now, we’re not going to upgrade for perhaps another four years. There’s no need. 3D TV is a dud for now and the PC can display 3D content just fine if we ever get the bug.

Second, there’s no compelling reason to buy a new TV. We’ve maxed out resolution on most TVs and until another pixel standard appears on the horizon 1080p is fine for the vast majority of families. I suspect the massive growth exhibited in the frothy early years of the 21st century were users buying new TVs to stay ahead of the digital TV switch and, more important, upgrade old CRTs to newer models.

And then there’s the final thing: people aren’t watching TV. I see TV as sort of the landline of the 2010s. Because everything is available on other screens in the home, why bother with the big screen in front of you on the couch or in the bedroom? While many will decry the loss of the big, bold TV, the big, bold TV is pretty much redundant if everything else plays the same stuff. Obviously consoles and disk players will factor into the decision to buy a TV, but as a la carte TV comes to the PC, why go huge?