Colour television (CTV) makers expect Indian consumers to switch over to top-end plasma projection and liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions at a rapid rate. The industry expects the nascent segment sales to more than double in 2005 at 35,000 units compared with 15,000 units this year.
Leading players in the segment such as LG, Samsung and Sony are lining up a slew of launches next year to tap the new urban affluent pockets. With an average price of Rs 1,25,000, the flat panel TV market is estimated at around Rs 450 crore.
According to the industry body, Consumer Electronics and Television Manufacturers Association, companies would be more aggressively marketing the high-end TVs to bolster wafer-thin margins in the conventional cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs.
“It is a segment which is poised for a more than 100 per cent growth over five years. As internationally companies shift focus to manufacturing flat panels, prices will also keep coming down, fuelling demand in India,” said Ravinder Zutshi, vice-president (sales), Samsung India.
Globally the two Korean firms LG and Samsung have more than 50 per cent of the total LCD production capacity.
With economies of scale, prices of large-screen flat panels are expected to come down by 15-20 per cent annually. This year, the average cost of 43-inch projection TVs came to Rs 90,000 from around Rs 110,000.
LG, which sold nearly 4,000 flat panels in this year, is targeting sales of 15,000 units in 2005.
“Technology awareness is increasing and a large section of people are expecting a more real-life experience,” said C M Singh, head (CTVs) LG India. LG has a joint venture with Philips to manufacture LCD panels and the entity is the second largest manufacturer in the world.
“All the developed markets in the US and Europe have shifted to flat panels from CRTs. Given the number of young urban consumers who are willing to spend freely on lifestyle products, flat panel sales will grow very fast,” said Sabiha Kidwai, head (CTVs), Sony India.
The company claimed to be the market leader in the category with a 35 per cent share.
Sony is slated to launch 10 new products in the category early next year and another Japanese player Hitachi has simultaneously launched it new Pro7 Series of LCD Tvs in India and elsewhere.
According to an IDC report, the international market for LCD TVs in 2005 would grow at 72 per cent to $37 billion, and by 2008, LCDs would account for nearly half of the CTVs sold worldwide.