China’s TCL became the top TV vendor in North America by units shipped for the first time ever during the first quarter of this year, according to IHS Markit stats.
The research firm said that TCL’s TV unit shipments increased by 112% year-on-year, while its share of North American shipments rose to 26.2% putting it ahead of previous market leader Samsung.
Samsung’s North American shipment share declined to 21.8% while third-place TV manufacturer Vizio claimed 13.7% of the market in Q1. However, Samsung maintained a “commanding lead” in terms of revenue, accounting for a 36.9% share, more than double that of any other company.
IHS Markit said that TCL’s strong Q1 2019 performance contributed to a record quarter for the North American TV market, with overall shipments up nearly 30% year-on-year to a historic high of 9.3 million units.
TV sets smaller than 55-inches drove most of the increase in TV shipments. However, the report said that growth was also boosted by an “acceleration of retail price erosion”, especially for larger TVs, with the average price-per-inch of an LCD-TV falling below US$10 for the first time in Q1.
“Amid rising concerns about tariffs arising from the US-China trade dispute, TCL and other TV brands that rely heavily on China-based manufacturing have been increasing shipments dramatically,” said Paul Gagnon, Research Executive Director at IHS Markit.
“As uncertainty mounts around a possible tariff-driven rise in costs, these brands have been bolstering shipments to protect against any potential disruption. Given that margins for TVs are relatively low compared to other consumer-electronics categories, any tariff increase would have a major impact on sales.”
Globally, TV shipments recovered in Q1, rebounding from a 1.6% decline in the Q4, 2018 to a 2.1% growth rate compared with a year earlier.
The surge in shipment growth was almost entirely attributed to the “surprisingly strong” shipment growth in North America, which offset another quarter of steep shipment decline in China and Latin America.