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Plasma TV Sales Up 95 Pct in Second Quarter

Market analysis outfit DisplaySearch, part of the NPD Group market research company, reports that global shipments for plasma televisions rose 95 percent during the second quarter of 2006 to 2.2 million units, with Panasonic retaining its position as the dominant brand.

Viewed quarter-to-quarter, the number of plasma systems moved rose a mere 30 percent (gulp!), but considered year-to-year, second quarter shipments mark a 95 percent rise. Shipments in North America overtook Europe for the first time on unit basis, with the American market showing a strong demand for screens with lots of real estate: North America dominated the market for 50-inch plasma TVs, accounting for 63 percent of all 50-inch systems sold worldwide during the second quarter. Sales of 50-inch plasma televisions also overtook sales of 50- to 54-inch rear-projection televisions for the first time in North America.

By size, however, the 42- to 43-inch category of plasma systems remained the top sellers worldwide, accounting for 73 percent of all systems sold, although the category’s share is being eroded on both ends by both 50-inch-plus systems and smaller 37-inch screens. However, HD compatibility is in: 42-inch HD displays overtook 42-inch D displays in sales for the first time, as consumers gear up for high-definition; prices for HD-capable systems also fell at twice the rate of ED systems.

According to DisplaySearch, Matsushit’as Panasonic brand remains the leading brand in plasma TVs for the eighth consecutive quarter, jumping to a 28 percent share of the worldwide market—a growth rate of over 70 percent. Rounding out the top five plasma TV manufacturers: LGE, Samsung, Philips/Magnavox, and Hitachi.

Earlier this week, DisplaySearch found that LCD TV sales grew by 135 percent in the second quarter to 9.4 million units, accounting for some 22 percent of the global television market.