Tough fight at smart TV market

Aggressive Chinese brands seem to have battered the Korean and Japanese players in domestic markets
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

With smartphone makers aggressively trying the smart TV segment, the once-undisputed leaders of the television market such as Samsung and LG are facing fierce competition from the likes of Xiaomi, OnePlus and Motorola.

The biggest disruption came early last year when Xiaomi announced its entry with Mi LED Smart TV 4, a 4K set with a 55-inch display for Rs 39,999. The launch was a first by Xiaomi outside China. Today, Xiaomi sells several TV models in the range of Rs 13,999-49,999.

“The company has contributed immensely to the growth of smart TV market in India — from 18 per cent in 2018 to 43 per cent in 2019. The unique data saver feature that our new range of TVs come with would cater to consumers in tier 3 and 4 cities and beyond, who watch content mostly through limited mobile data packs,” said Raghu Reddy, head (category and online sales), Xiaomi India.

LG is second with 15 per cent market share, while Sony is third (14 per cent) and Samsung had 12 per cent share in the first quarter of 2019.

The Korean and Japanese players also seem to have been battered by the other aggressive Chinese rivals such as Motorola and OnePlus, who are attempting to gain a foothold in the Indian market. These Chinese invaders have offered feature-rich lower-priced phones, large distribution network and better technology much like their smartphones, to oust the existing players. Industry observers say these brands are now strategically placed to grab a sweet spot as they also have a strong game in the online space.

For instance, not many TV makers were able to create a buzz the way OnePlus did with the launch of its first-ever 55-inch 4K QLED TV series last month. Both OnePlus TV 55Q1 and Q1 Pro have seen tremendous uptake, registering the highest-ever sales in the TV category on Amazon, helping the firm garner Rs 500 crore in earnings in just two days. Lenovo-owned Motorola also recently launched a new smart TV series in India with range varying between 32-inch HDTV and 65-inch 4K panel.

Furthermore, the advent of high-quality streaming services such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime have emerged as a key factor in favour of handset manufacturers, as well as in pushing sales of large-screen smart TVs. “With increase in content consumption, companies are eyeing to grab users’ maximum screen time,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director, Counterpoint Research.

IDC India estimates the smart TV segment in India to be about 40 per cent of the total TV shipments, which grew 55 per cent on year in the April-June quarter this year. This is set to expand as more players enter the market. Brands are also capitalising on the Centre’s move to remove import duty of 5 per cent on open cell LCD TV panels, which account for 70 per cent of the cost of assembling televisions in India.

With 15%
market share, LG is Leader No 2 of smart TV market, after Xiaomi

With 14%
market share, Sony comes third and Samsung follows next (12%)

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