4K TV Sales: Underdog brands against Samsung & LG this Super Bowl

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February 4, 2018 marks the 52nd Super Bowl. Hundreds of thousands of fans will crowd the stadium to cheer on the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Millions more will be watching on televisions around the world. For Americans, the Super Bowl is not only one of the greatest sporting events of the year, but with deals that are sometimes better than black Friday, it is also one of the best times of the year to buy a new big screen television.

Saving for the Super Bowl

The timing of the Super Bowl drives this phenomenon; The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has recently ended, and many television manufacturers have just announced the most high-tech, newest televisions available. New models are primed and ready to hit the market. In order to make room for the latest and greatest models, last year’s televisions are offered at a deep discount.

It just so happens that this coincides with the Super Bowl- which last year drew an audience of 111.9 million. With so many eyes glued to television screens, it’s no wonder that retailers jumped at the opportunity to discount last year’s television models.

Whose TVs are they buying?

For the most part, consumers are buying the big name brands that you expect. The majority of consumers gravitate towards Samsung, LG, or Vizio. When it comes to unit shares, Samsung currently leads the way with a share that is nearly double that of its nearest competitor, despite significant year over year losses. Consumers tend to gravitate towards Samsung televisions due to the value they place on Samsung’s brand name and the quality of their products.

Holding steady at number two is Vizio, also coming off of significant losses. Some of those losses could be due to the outcry that followed after it was revealed that Vizio was collecting information on television owners without their knowledge or consent. Despite this, Vizio’s competitive pricing and appealing features keep consumers interested.

On the other hand, LG is gaining ground. The brand has seen year over year gains for each of the last four quarters. Both LG and Samsung are frequently at the forefront of television technology advancements, adding screen technology like QLED and OLED, experimenting with TV form factors, and so on. This draws attention, as 27% of consumers choose television brands based on features. As a result, brand names like LG & Samsung tend to be top of mind for consumers, which adds to the appeal when making a higher-priced investment like a television. 26% of TraQline respondents revealed that Good Brand Name was a key factor in their decision to purchase televisions.

What’s the deal with 4K?

The unit shares for 4K televisions is increasing at a significant rate. In the last , the category has seen significant year over year increases in unit and dollar shares. While 1080p/1080i combine for the largest single share of screen resolutions, approximately 1/3 of all televisions currently purchased fall into the 4K/Ultra High Definition category of televisions.

Smaller Brands Gain Share

While it may seem that the top 4K televisions would belong to the big-name television brands, that isn’t exactly the case. True, the top brands are Samsung and LG, with Sony and Vizio not far behind. However, there have been rumblings from the bottom of the pack.

Like any great underdog story, we’re beginning to see significant year over year growth in brands such as TCL, Philips, and Hisense. TCL in particular has seen consistent growth for the past five quarters. In fact, TCL’s 4K televisions make up 2.4% of the sales mix in the R4Q ending September 2017, up more 1.8% over the previous R4Q. Similarly, Philips 4K televisions significantly increased their share of the market mix by 2% year-over-year.

As prices for 4K televisions continue to fall and the cost of the technology drops, there will be greater opportunities for lesser-known brands to increase their unit shares. As additional features continue to trickle down into affordable price ranges, these more budget-friendly brands can attract consumers who just need the perfect television for the big game, not the fanciest, most advanced television on the block.