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Samsung Takes Lead in U.S. LCD-TV Market in Q1

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Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the first quarter of 2010 regained the leading position in the U.S. LCD-TV market, as the company capitalized on rising consumer demand for television sets with advanced features, including LED-backlighting, built-in Internet connectivity and 3-D images, according to iSuppli Corp.

Samsung in the first quarter shipped 1.1 million LCD-TV sets in the United States. While this was down 33 percent from the fourth quarter, Samsung actually outperformed the overall U.S. LCD-TV market, which contracted by 35.8 percent sequentially due to seasonal factors. This allowed Samsung to increase its market share to 18 percent in the first quarter, up from 17.3 percent in the fourth quarter, giving it the top position in the U.S. market.

“The year 2010 marks a major transition period for the U.S. LCD-TV market, when consumers increasingly are gravitating toward sets with more advanced features,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst, television systems, for iSuppli. “With Samsung at the forefront of trends including LED backlighting and 3-D, the company has been able to outperform the market and its closest competitors.”

Samsung of South Korea retook the lead from U.S.-based brand Vizio Inc., whose unit shipments declined by 42.2 percent sequentially in the first quarter. Vizio and Samsung have been engaged in a tight race for leadership in the U.S. LCD-TV market, with the two companies frequently swapping the No. 1 position from quarter to quarter. Samsung held a 1.3 percent point lead over Vizio in the first quarter of 2010, the same margin in which Vizio led Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The sequential decline in LCD-TV shipments follows the normal seasonal pattern of sales peaking in the fourth-quarter holiday season and falling to the low point of the year in the first quarter. Most LCD-TV brands used the first quarter as an opportunity to clear out inventories of older model sets to make way for new products.

Many new models with enhanced features were introduced during the first quarter that are in tune with 2010 product trends. With the addition of new feature-rich models to the product mix, the average price of LCD-TVs in the United States increased by 7 percent $830 in the first quarter of 2010, up from $774 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Overall pricing tends to decrease on a sequential basis, making this increase a notable event.

The U.S. LCD-TV market in 2010 is set to undergo a rapid transition away from traditional Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) and toward LED backlighting technology. Shipments of LED-backlit LCD-TVs in the United States are projected to rise to 7.7 million units in 2010, up about 600 percent from 1.1 million in 2009. LED-backlit models will account for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. LCD-TV shipments in 2010, at 23.4 percent, up from only 3.4 percent in 2009.

Meanwhile, Internet-Enabled Televisions (IETVs) are attracting consumer interest, with U.S. shipments expected to rise to 11.8 million units in 2010, up from 6.9 million in 2009. 

Among U.S. consumers that purchased new televisions in the first quarter, 26.8 percent indicated their new sets were connected to the Internet, either though the internal capabilities of their TVs or via external devices, such as digital video boxes or game consoles. This is up from 24.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. Over time, IETVs will account for a rising portion of Internet connectivity in televisions.The most popular types of Internet content accessed by consumers are movies and social networking services.

U.S. shipments of 3-D TVs—introduced to the market for the first time in March—are expected to reach 1.45 to1.5 million units In 2010, thanks to increasing acceptance from enthusiastic early adopters.

Read More, LCD-TVs Exhibit Continued Strength >

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