COVID-19 Pandemic Slows Flat-Panel TV Shipments by 3%; Drives 4 Million Surge in Streaming Media Adapter Shipments

22 Jul 2020


Uncertain 2020 economic conditions caused by COVID-19 is negatively affecting the global flat-panel TV market. Despite the excitement around 8K TV sets, the overall flat-panel TV market experienced a sharp decline in first quarter of 2020. Global tech market tech advisory firm, ABI Research, forecasts that 222 million flat-panel TVs will ship in 2020, a 3% decrease from 2019.

Stay-at-home orders and subsequent economic upheaval have laid a serious blow to global economic activities, leading to less consumer spending on non-essential consumer electronic equipment. It is also causing a slowdown in households upgrading to premium TV sets. Major TV manufactures have reported nearly 18% YoY decline in flat-panel TV unit shipments in the first quarter, and despite the government’s efforts to reopen the economies, the downturn is expected to hurt flat-panel TV market through the end of the year. “These conditions are likely to accelerate a decline in the sales price, too.  TV makers will also need to focus on optimizing sales channels and structures based on new market demands,” notes Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research.

While the flat panel TV market is experiencing challenges, COVID-19 has had the opposite impact on the streaming media device market.  Video streaming services became more popular during lockdown due to their low-cost compared to pay-TV. This increase in streaming services caused a surge in streaming media adapter shipments of more than 4 million units vs. 2019 shipments. Key vendors such as Roku and Fire TV reported a significant increase in sales volumes during the first quarter of 2020. To capitalize on the opportunity in the market, TiVo launched a 4K Stream 4K device in May 2020.

Although COVID-19 is contributing to the sharp rise in streaming services and the streaming device market, the increase in video streaming demand is likely to continue beyond the pandemic. “The launch of new services along with bolstered broadband connectivity across different regions will accelerate the adoption of video streaming services and devices. This phenomenon is expected to contribute to the declining use of physical media devices such as the Blu-Ray media player,” comments Lynn.  

Despite the headwinds caused by COVID-19 in 2020, the global flat-panel TV market is expected to rebound from 2021 as businesses continue to reopen. The market is projected to grow at CAGR 4.3% to reach 275 million units in 2025.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Media Devices: Ultra HD, 4K, HDR, 8K, HEVC market data report. This report is part of the company’s Video and Cloud research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight where opportunities lie.

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