TV Sales Reach An 8-Year High Thanks To 4K, And Here’s What To Expect From 8K
Stephan Jukic – July 4, 2019
After a number of years of almost stagnant growth and development, worldwide TV shipments were given a major boost by the advent and steady permeation of 4K ultra HD display technology into their designs. This is what the market data is showing according to the latest findings and what much of the market clues have been indicating for at least a couple of years now as 4K TVs not only became more common but also much more affordable across the board.
Specifically, according to a report from the analysts at the firm Futuresource Consulting, 2018 ended with the strongest growth of the last decade due to 4K TV shipment value growing by 6% over the year before.
Even more surprising are the findings and predictions on 8K TVs, which finally entered their own stable niche in 2018 and are expected to see shipments of at least 0.2 million units in 2019. By 2023 this fledgling market is predicted to see 130% growth as more brands back the technology of 8K. The interesting thing about this is that 8K TV sales are growing so decently despite the fact that 8K video sources basically don’t yet exist for the consumer market due to continuing difficulties with the peripheral technologies of creating and transmitting 8K video.
Overall 4K TV sales in 2018 amounted to a whopping 227 million TV units sold, with a trade value of over $85 billion dollars, according to Mathew Rubin, a senior analyst at the consulting firm behind the study. Furthermore, according to Rubin:
“All this action is the result of a number of factors, applying pressure and influencing the landscape. Price reductions for premium technologies like 4K have started to open up the mass market; meanwhile, major investment in South East Asian production has not only helped the local market, but also driven down large screen pricing across the globe. And despite some localised macro-economic problems, which have caused significant shipment fluctuations for several countries, the world view is positive.”
The biggest sources of growth for the 4K TV market have been the BRIC economies of the developing world. Demand in these has completely surpassed the either flat or even declining demand in Western Europe and North America according to the findings. Countries such as Russia, Brazil and China saw particular 4K TV shipment increases due to a number of reasons that include Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup (which was offered live in 4K in may places) and Brazil’s switch-off of analogue TV in 2017. China’s market saw 4K TV shipments grow too but only at a modest single digit pace compared to previous years.
Even in Western Europe and North America, where shipments in 2018 fell slightly, the picture for 4K TV sales didn’t look too bad: The Eastern European market more than compensated for the Western European slump with growth of 6% while shipments in North America only slumped very slightly by a tenth of a percent and still amounted to over 42 million 4K UHD TVs sold.
The brands making the biggest strides in this market are those that have been creating budget 4K TVs according to the Futuresource findings, but despite this, major players like LG, Samsung and Sony remain absolutely dominant and capable of defending their profit margins on the global market.
The most important aspect of the 4K TV market is the growth it has yet to see worldwide. Due to dramatically falling prices, increased 4K TV standardization and increased mainline production of TV sets of 40 inches or more, Futuresource expects 4K TV shipments to command half the market in this year. Even more fundamentally, by 2023, 4K TV ownership is expected to reach over 960 million units worldwide, meaning a total market penetration of 42%. These are impressive figures compared to what 4K TVs represented as a share of the total market only four years ago.
In basic terms, the market for 4K TVs has become fully established as the formal successor to HDTV technology and its technology has become standardized across the board. This has allowed for a degree of consumer confidence that coupled with decreasing prices has made sales of 4K TVs explode.
Where a new frontier of growth still has to be seen is in 8K TV development. This cutting edge display technology still faces enormous challenges that dwarf those of 4K resolution in terms of content delivery, but it is showing signs of genuine potential for major growth in the near future. As the findings by Futuresource show, most major brands now have 8K TV models ready or even available for the consumer market and while the percentage of shipments in 2019 likely won’t exceed 0.1%, by 2023 it will have expanded to at least 2%. This 2% will represent a stable expansion into the premium end of the home theater display market.
The major stumbling block for 8K TV adoption is the content side of the equation, with 8K video sources being difficult to film, store and especially problematic when it comes to transmission via internet and other channels.
One major beacon of hope for the development of 8K content delivery techniques is the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, which will be broadcast widely in native 8K by NHK. By that point the Japanese market for 8K TVs is expected to reach at least 100,000 units shipped mostly to premium market buyers.
For those of you interested in buying an 8K TV, the single best consumer market 8K model available right now that actually delivers superb quality for any content resolution would have to be Samsung’s Q900 2019 QLED 8K TV. We reviewed this model in 2019 and the results of its performance metrics were surprising, in many good ways, even if there were a few tradeoffs to bear in mind with the Q900’s display performance.Check out our review, and the world’s newest 8K TV’s price below that on Amazon.com.