In a significant shift, cumulative sales of flat CTVs are all set to overtake conventional TVs in '06. Keeping pace with global trends, flat CTV and flat panels, including LCD and plasma, TV volumes in India have trebled this year to hit the 3.5-m mark. The industry expects the contribution of flats to the total CTV market to surge from 45% this year to around 60%.
In October, flats actually overtook the conventional segment for the first time, clocking 51% market share. At the top end, flat panel, still in its infancy in India, is expected to sustain the over 200% growth it logged this year.
“Consumers in India have begun to understand technology and are fast moving up the value curve,” said R Zutshi, deputy MD, Samsung India. Much of the growth in this segment is being attributed to falling prices of flat technology. During the past four years, flat CTV prices declined 60%.
At the higher end, flat CTV prices have eroded 30-40%. While the flat technology is much more affordable, people have started seeing value. It occupies lesser space, looks better and ensures lower power consumption. The industry now expects flats to completely replace conventional CTVs in 3-5 years.
“Conventional sets may continue to sell in rural markets in small numbers but, by and large flats will rule,” says Girish Bapat, vice president, LG India. He added that Indian market doesn't shift completely so fast, but that's changing now. The companies themselves see a shift in their sales portfolio. LG, for instance, saw the contribution of flats in its total CTV sales hit 45%, up from 30% last year.
Small wonder then, for most players, flat CTVs are at the top of the agenda and they have begun to slowpedal new launches in the conventional CTV segment and freeze manufacturing conventional sets altogether. “We have retained a limited range in conventional sets in our portfolio,” said Mr Zutshi.
Encouraged by the success of flats, companies have begun creating a fresh segment - Slims - in their portfolio. Samsung which has introduced a full range of flat CTV and LCD supported by aggressive pricing and innovative advertising, is also pushing Slimfit.
LG has Slimagic in that segment. “Our sales pitch is now skewed towards the flat CTV segment under Onida and we would use another brand Igo to play in the conventional segment till there's market for it,” says Vivek Sharma, VP-marketing & sales, Onida.
Globally, flat panel TV (LCD and plasma) volumes that stood at 149 million units last year, are estimated to cross 159 million units this year. While worldwide CTV sales are growing at 7-8 % annually, the flat panel segment is expected to grow at 130% this year, contributing 23% of the CTV market.
The burgeoning LCD sales can be attributed to growing cost efficiencies in LCD panels, enhancing their cost competitiveness, the technology advancement that is happening in this sector and the technology benefits being communicated to customers by manufactures.