Low Prices Make Vizio Top LCD TV Maker

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The economic downturn has meant cutbacks and layoffs—and even closures—for many high tech companies, but others are managing to turn challenges into opportunity. One example might be low-cost LCD manufacturer Vizio, which has managed to capture the top spot in LCD television sales during the first quarter of 2009, according to market analysis firm iSuppli.

“Due to its aggressive pricing, Vizio for some time has maintained its position as North America,s top-selling LCD-TV value brand,” said iSuppli television analyist Riddhi Patel, in a statement. “However, since the onset of the economic downturn, Vizio,s share has risen dramatically. With budgets becoming increasingly tight, consumers are finding the company’s inexpensive sets more alluring.”

According to iSuppli, Vizio posted the largest increase in market share among the top five LCD-TV brands in North America during the quarter, with its market share jumping from 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 21.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Perhaps further demonstrating the appeal of Vizio’s low-cost offerings, the broader LCD-TV market shrank significantly during the same period, accounting for just 6.3 million units sold during the quarter, down 23.2 percent from 8.1 million units sold during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Number two and number three LCD TV makers, Samsung Sony, each saw their market share drop quarter to quarter, with Samsung now accounting for 19.9 percent of the market and Sony capturing 16.6 percent. LG and Sharp saw slight increased to 10.7 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively, while the all-inclusive “Others”—makers outside the top five—saw their collective market share drop from 29.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 21.9 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Vizio attributes some of its success to partnering with high-powered volume retailers like Costco and Wal-Mart—which undoubtedly puts its wares in front of consumers who might not otherwise consider an LCD TV. Vizio’s sharp ascent during the quarter—paired with the sharp decline outside the top five, may indicate Vizio is primarily taking sales away from other budget LCD TV makers, rather from the big-name brands.

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