If 2012 ends up marking the first year the flat-panel TVs business declines, Samsung’s going down with a smile. According to IHS, the Korean manufacturer actually expanded its market share in the U.S. LCD TV market last quarter, solidifying its lead on previous top dog Vizio.
The research group revealed that Samsung’s share has reached a new milestone, jumping from 18.9 percent in Q3 2011 to over 23 percent the following quarter. Vizio also saw shipments increase slightly during the holidays, but nowhere near enough to regain its former number one position. The California-based manufacturer grabbed 15.4 percent of the market, but posted a 44 percent shipment drop-off from 2010.
“[Samsung] was able to offer a range of price-competitive sets with a rich choice of features that U.S. consumers wanted,” said Tom Morrod, senior analyst and head of TV Technology, IHS. “This allowed the company to outperform the competition during the all-important holiday selling season.”
In particular, Morrod approved of Samsung’s decision to sell cheaper cold-cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) sets and the higher-end light-emitting diode (LED) models simultaneously. Both choices are otherwise the same, providing buyers a “clear choice” on just how big a hit they want their wallets to take, he said.
Rounding out the top five (in order) is LG Electronics, Sony and Toshiba. Sony’s position, however, remains in question. The Japanese hardware giant sold off its shares in a joint LCD company to business partner Samsung last December and ordered a massive Bravia recall two months earlier. Thanks to a rough economy, many consumers have understandably abandoned the company and its historically pricey products.
Sony may not be alone for long. Last week, IHS predicted the U.S. flat-panel TV market would see its first-ever overall decline this year as consumers slowly snatch up 2011’s shipment excess.