With just about everything made in China, it’s little surprise a Chinese television manufacturer has unseated South Korea’s Samsung for top unit sales in North America.
With China and the United States embroiled in a trade dispute, the rush to import Chinese TVs ahead of proposed tariffs is at a fevered pitch.
China’s TCL unit shipments climbed to 26.2% in the first quarter (ended March 31), up from 16% during the previous-year period, according to new data from IHS Markit.
Perennial market leader Samsung saw shipments drop to 21.8% from 28%. No. 3 Vizio shipments nearly reached 14%, according to the data first reported by Advanced-Television.
TCL, which markets TVs featuring the Roku operating system, helped drive North American unit shipments up 30% to a record 9.3 million units.
Samsung still dominates the market in revenue (36.9%) due to its larger screens across its product line and higher price points.
“As uncertainty mounts around a possible tariff-driven rise in costs, these brands have been bolstering shipments to protect against any potential disruption,” Paul Gagnon, research executive director at IHS Markit, said in a statement. “Given that margins for TVs are relatively low compared to other consumer-electronics categories, any tariff increase would have a major impact on sales.”