LG and Samsung prosper in LCD boom-time

LED backlights, emerging markets and eco-considerations are fuelling a boom-time for Korea's leaders of the global LCD TV market.

LG expects a near-50% increase in its sales next year, while Samsung says it's on course to sell two million LED-backlit TVs this year, and five times as many in 2010.

Last year LG sold 10.5m LCD TVs, but Simon Kang, head of the company's home entertainment unit, told a meeting last week he expects that to rise to 17m this year, and 25m in 2010. Indeed, Kang says the company could have sold even more this year were it not for a worldwide shortage of LCD panels.

The BRIC effect
Its sales for the second quarter of this year were 3.5m sets, 20% up on the number it sold in the period between January and March. Most of that growth came from sales in emerging markets, notably the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China.

An Indian business paper reports on LG's local sales boom

And Kang expects that while developed markets may only see sales growing by a couple of percentage points next year, countries such as the BRIC group are expected to show double-digit percentage growth.

But LG doesn't think plasma TVs are going away any time soon; last year it sold 2.2m sets worldwide, this year it expects to ship 3m, and next year should sell 4m.

Meanwhile rival Samsung is also enjoying a sales boom, having sold 5.7m LCD TVs in April-June this year, up from 5.1m in the first quarter. It expects to sell 22m sets by the end of this year.

LED backlighting is growing
Part of that success is down to LCD TVs with LED backlights, the 2m Samsung expects to ship this year accounting for almost half of the 4.5m total market.

The 'LED' market has grown tenfold since last year, helped by improved picture quality, slimmer designs and eco-considerations. LED-lit LCD TVs eliminate the hazardous materials found in conventional LCDs' lighting tubes, and have lower energy consumption.

By 2013 it's expected almost 100m LED-lit sets will be sold, accounting for 42.5% of the expected total LCD market, according to industry analysts iSuppli.

The worldwide LCD TV market grew by over 14% from the first to second quarters of this year, with 30.7m sets sold. The top five companies in the sector are market-leader Samsung, then LG, followed by Sharp, Sony and Philips.

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.