4K TV Panels

The TV market scale in China in terms of unit shipments continues to shrink, but the growing demand for large-size models there is driving the upgrades in the TV panel sector, which in turn will accelerate the transformation of price competition into value competition in the TV industry, according to industry sources.

Statistics show that TV sales in China slipped 10% on year to 46.90 million units in 2020 and are estimated to see another 10% fall in 2021 due mainly to weakening consumption, and it will be increasingly difficult for the annual TV shipments in China to rebound to the level of over 50 million units, the sources said.

Nevertheless, the average size of TVs sold in China has enlarged significantly. Sigmaintell Consulting estimated the China market’s average TV size will further grow by 3.4 inches in 2021, mainly driven by increasing demand for 65-, 70-, 75- and 80-inch models, with the size expansion trend to last into 2022.

The demand for large-size TVs mainly results from the fact that China now boasts the largest 10.5G TFT-LCD panel production capacity in the world, and the nation’s 65-inch panels will account for 22.8% of its total panel production in 2021, up nearly 10pp from 2020, Sigmaintell said.

Structural market changes

The global TV market is undergoing structural changes in TV products, as large-size models continue to gain weight in product portfolios at vendors along with constant price hikes for glass substrates, ICs and panels amid lingering shortages of components, said Sigmaintell.

It is estimated that 50-inch and above TV models will account for over 50% of total global shipments for the first time in 2021, with the shipment ratio for 65-inch TVs alone to grow by 3.1pp in the year. This in turn will push up the average size of TVs sold worldwide by 2.2 inches in 2021, which may advance further by another 1.6 inches in 2022.

The rapid growth in average TV size has also helped panel makers effectively consume their production capacity, industry sources said, adding that the emerging new technologies such as 8K, miniLED backlighting and OLED will continue to upgrade the TV industry and prompt vendors to compete in product values rather than product prices.

The penetration of 8K TVs will remain relatively low in 2021 with total global sales estimated at only 500,000 units, but the figure is likely to more than double in both 2022 and 2023, the sources estimated.

Global shipments of miniLED-backlit TVs are expected to increase rapidly under the aggressive promotion by Samsung Electronics, and the sales volume is estimated to hit five million units in 2023 with miniLED-backlighting technology likely to be extended to midrange TV models, the sources said.

Samsung is reportedly seeking to purchase OLED panels from LG Display to pave the way for producing OLED TVs, the sources said, and the move is expected to accelerate the expansion of the OLED TV market, with global shipments of such TVs estimated to surpass 10 million units by 2023.