Last summer’s FIFA World Cup Soccer tournament in Russia helped increase global TV sales 2.9% to 221 million units, according to new data from IHS Markit Research.
In the fourth quarter of 2018 more than half of all shipments were ultra-high-definition (UHD) TVs with increasingly larger screen sizes.
“Average new TV screen sizes are still growing at least one inch per year,” Paul Grey, research director, said in a statement. “With falling LCD panel prices, consumers clearly care more about trading-up in size than about spending less money. Even in Japan, where consumers have been resistant to buying large TVs, the average screen size increased year over year.”
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Indeed, UHD TV shipments reached 99 million units. China led the global market with 30.1 million TVs shipped in 2018, followed by North America with 24.7 million. Nearly 63% of TV sets in Western Europe shipped with UHD resolution in the fourth quarter of 2018, the largest share of any global region.
Meanwhile, 18,600 8K TVs shipped globally in 2018.
“The launch of an 8K channel by Japan’s NHK network, was an important landmark last year, which led to an acceleration in 8K TV shipments in Japan during Q4,” Gray said.
Separately, smart TVs that support UHD through streaming services continued to rise in volume. More than three-quarters of TVs shipped in quarter were smart TVs. In North America, more than 85% of all TVs were smart TVs, which is 10% higher than the previous year.
Finally, just under 1 million OLED TVs shipped in the quarter, up 20% over the prior year. Thanks to increasing competition, large-screen 55-inch OLED TVs hit new levels of affordability in Western Europe. Meanwhile, OLED TV shipments to North America fell 26%, year over year, due in part to aggressive price declines in very large LCD TV sizes.