Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics took the No. 1 and 2 spots in the global TV market last year, but their respective growth rates slowed significantly, while sales of their 3D TVs fell short of expectations.
According to market researcher DisplaySearch on Sunday, Samsung sold 47.69 million TV sets worldwide in 2011 to stand as the market leader with a 19.3 percent share. It has now kept its grip on the top spot for six years after overtaking Sony in 2006.
LG maintained its No. 2 position for the third straight year with a 15.1 percent share of the world market. One in three TV sets sold around the world last year was manufactured by one of the two Korean companies.
In contrast, Japanese TV makers, which ruled the global TV market until the early 2000s, saw their market shares continue to slip. Third-ranked Sony managed to hold just 8.2 percent of the market, while Panasonic (No. 4 with a 7.5 percent market share), which invested heavily into PDP TVs instead of LCD TVs, continued to struggle. Toshiba, which ranked fifth with a 6.5 percent market share, and Sharp, which trailed with 5.5 percent, also fared poorly.
But while Samsung and LG overwhelmed the market in terms of volume, their performance was less than stellar in terms of quality. Both companies either saw growth slow or stagnate.
Samsung's TV sales rose 19 percent year on year in 2010, but only 6 percent last year, while LG’s dropped four percent from 2010 for its first decline in five years. Previously, LG registered an average annual growth rate of 20 percent since 2007.
Experts said the global financial crisis had a large impact on the two companies’ performance, but they also blamed Samsung and LG for failing to come up with innovative new products that could lead sales growth.
In 2008, when the global financial crisis erupted, Samsung still posted a 28 percent rise in TV sales compared to the previous year, and continued this strong run with a 19 percent expansion in 2010.
Experts say the main reasons behind the stellar performances from 2008 to 2010 were two attention-grabbing products -- the Crystal Rose TV, which featured an innovative new design, and LED TVs.
But 3D TVs and smart TVs, which Samsung and LG pinned high hopes on last year, have yet to make a strong impact on the market.
The global TV market increased to 24.12 million units in 2011, but sales have become lackluster as demand for 3D TVs is growing at just half the speed of that enjoyed by LED TVs two years ago.