Samsung, LG Prioritize High-End TV Market

  • By Kim Seong-min

    August 26, 2019 12:53

    Korean-made TVs have accounted for by far the highest proportion of global sales since 2013.

    Samsung accounted for 31.5 percent in the second quarter of the year and LG for 16.5 percent. Together they rake in about half of global revenues. But based on volume their share fell to 31.8 percent because they are increasingly concentrating on high-end models after realizing they cannot beat their Chinese rivals at the cheap end.

    Samsung takes up a whopping 53.8-percent share of the global market for TVs costing US$2,500 or more and LG for 17.8 percent. Samsung is focusing on QLED or quantum dot displays, while LG is focusing on OLED TVs without being dragged around by Chinese rivals, who are waging a volume game.

    At present, affordable LCD TVs still account for a majority of global TV sales, while QLED and OLED TVs aim at a more affluent market with sophisticated technologies with thinner screens and clearer pictures. The average price tag of an LCD TV is $639.6 for a 4K ultra-HD model, compared to $1,938.5 for QLED and $2,183.5 for OLED.

    Samsung and LG are spearheading the market for 8K TVs that offer four times higher clarity than 4K models, and higher margins to boot. Samsung rolled out 8K QLED models with 65, 75, 82 and 85-inch screens in Korea, Europe, the U.S. and Russia in November of last year and added an even bigger 98-inch model to its lineup in May this year, which costs W77 million (US$1=W1,211).

    LG also rolled out an 88-inch 8K OLED TV in June costing W50 million, which will soon hit store shelves in Europe and North America with the view to dominating the premium segment faster than any other rival.

    Now Japan's Sony is emulating Samsung and LG's strategy, but China remains the biggest threat to Korean TV makers.

    Chinese manufacturers have developed ink-jet printed OLED technology. The process wastes less materials than the current evaporation method and reduces manufacturing costs by 15 to 25 percent. TCL and Hisense plan to roll out 8K QLED TVs using the new technology within the year. 

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