Demand for 4K to expand by 72% leading into 2018 according to researchers

by on December 18, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – December 18, 2014

By the end of this year, just a half a month away, total shipments of 4K TVs are expected to have exceeded 11.6 million units, a whopping increase of 700% over 4K UHD TV sales in 2013, according to researchers from the firm  Futuresource Consulting.

Over 70% of the total demand for ultra HD TV sets has come from the massive Chinese market, where millions of lower end 4K TVs from lesser known domestic (Chinese) brands make up a majority of sales. However, even sales of much more expensive name brand TVs have also been rising in the largest market in Asia. In Western Europe and North America, total share of the overall 4K TV market will represent 10% and 8% respectively of the world total sales demand in 2015. This trend is expected to grow steadily at an average of 72% leading up to the year 2018.

From 2015 onwards, 4K TV display adoption is expected to really hit a running pace and grow very quickly over the coming 5 years and by 2018, Futuresource’s researchers (among others) predict that total sales of ultra HD TVs on the world market will easily hit 100 million units and possibly more. This number is expected to make up roughly 38% of all LCD LED TV sales.

One major indicator of the growing popularity and mainstreaming of 4K TVs was in fact the recent widespread discounting of their prices during the Black Friday sales of November’s end. These sales were also attended by widespread publicity for 4K, raising consumer awareness to unprecedented levels.

The majority of 4K TVs being sold now are smaller models with screens of 55 inches or less but Futuresource predicts that sales will start concentrating towards the high end of screen sizes, meaning that most of the TVs  sold in the coming years will be above 55 inches. However, while prices for 4K TVs drop across the board, there will also be an increasing availability of smaller 40 inch sets for the lower budget consumers on the market.

4K will augment a migration to larger screens because the resolution itself lends itself much better to viewing on bigger screens of 50 or more inches. Because of this, 4K UHD sets with screens of 55+ inches are expected to make up at least 25% of the overall market in 2018.

The growth of sales for larger 4K TVs with 55+ inch screens will expand dramatically by 2018

The growth of sales for larger 4K TVs with 55+ inch screens will expand dramatically by 2018

At the same time as UHD TV sales grow, content options will continue to expand and this trend will be accelerated by the spread of ultra-high speed internet connectivity of 20Mbps or more to households worldwide.

Smart TV features will also be an important and expanding factor in the growth of both 4K and more conventional HDTVs. Futuresource anticipates that over 82% of all TVs sold in 2018 (HD or 4K) will have Smart TV features with web connectivity built into them. In 2014, the percentage of televisions with Smart TV features was just over 50%.

“Although the industry spotlight is focused upon UHD and curved screens, smart TV continues to permeate the market as a value added feature, and UI refinements like voice and gesture recognition, tile-driven navigation and device mirroring have substantial consumer appeal at point of sales as part of a premium set proposition” according to Jack Wetherill, a Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.


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