Low-Priced Vizio Takes LCD-TV Market Lead In 2Q - InformationWeek

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Low-Priced Vizio Takes LCD-TV Market Lead In 2Q

A sales surge rocketed Vizio from fifth place to the top spot, passing Samsung, Philips, Sharp, and Sony, according to research firm iSuppli.

Low prices and the market clout of Wal-Mart and Sears propelled Vizio to the leading LCD-TV brand in North America in the second quarter, a market research firm said Monday.

Vizio shipments soared 76.4% to 606,402 units from 343,704 in the first quarter, iSuppli said. As a result, Visio's share of the U.S. and Canadian markets rose to 14.5% from 9.4%.

The sales surge rocketed Vizio from fifth place to the top spot, passing Samsung, Philips, Sharp, and Sony, the research firm said. The brand went from unknown a year ago to the top position because of a combination of low-priced products and high-powered sales channels.

Vizio in the beginning of the second quarter added Wal-Mart and Sears to its list of retailers. "The company already was selling its LCD-TVs through the warehouse stores Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club -- but the addition of the two new retailers gave Vizio's sales a significant lift," iSuppli analyst Riddhi Patel said in a statement.

Vizio also is benefiting from consumers growing comfortable with LCD-TVs, which are losing the new technology image that had buyers favoring premium, established brands and specialty electronics retailers. "Americans have grown comfortable with value brands, making Vizio's low-cost sets an alluring alternative to the established names," Patel said.

The North American LCD-TV market in general grew at a healthy 14.9% clip in the second quarter to 4.2 million units from 3.7 million in the first quarter. Vizio led in 32-, 37-, 42-, and 47-inch sets, which include the most popular size range. ISuppli expects Vizio to remain the market leader for at least the next couple of quarters.

Along with Vizio's rise, the North American market saw a shakeup among established premium brands in the quarter. Sony slid to sixth from third as shipments plummeted 36.1% to 263,377 units.

Sharp rose one position to third on a 9.7% increase in shipments to 431,171 units. It was the first time Sharp improved its ranking since losing its leadership position in North America in the third quarter of last year. Sharp's rise was due to increased availability of panels from its new eighth-generation fab, iSuppli said.

The top five vendors, including market share, were Vizio, 14.5%; Samsung, 11.4%; Sharp, 10.3%; Philips, 8.3%; and LG Electronics, 7.3%.

LCD-TVs have become the leading technology in the high-definition TV market, surpassing plasma TVs and other types of large-screen sets. Driving the LCD-TV market is competitive pricing and the consumer perception that the technology is better at handling digital TV.

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