3D TV market growing slower than expected

3D TVs are shipping out to stores around the world, but sales have been well below manufacturer’s expectations, with the devices unlikely to become mainstream technology until 2014 according to the latest figures from DisplaySearch.

The report, entitled Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, highlights the success of the 3D TV sector during the third quarter of 2010, with a forecast of 3.2 million shipments of 3D TVs this year – half of that being in North America alone.

This amounts to a meagre two percent market share for flat panel TVs shipped this year, much less than manufacturers would have liked.

“While TV manufacturers have bold plans and a lot of new products, consumers remain cautious,” said Paul Gray, Director of TV Electronics Research at DisplaySearch. “Consumers have been told that 3D TV is the future, but there still remains a huge price jump and little 3D content to watch.”

However, things will improve over the next few years as prices fall, more competition enters the market, the technology improves, and more content is offered, all of which are currently problems that 3D TV faces.

By 2014 DisplaySearch expects the 3D TV to grow into a mainstream technology, accounting for as much as 41 percent of the market share and a whopping 90 million 3D TVs shipped in that year alone. Until then, however, the sector is likely to grow slowly, with consumers wary about investing too early in its lifecycle.

The report also found that sales of 3D glasses in Western Europe were extremely low, with many countries failing to even get a one to one ration of glasses to TV sets, making 3D TV a very lonely experience and one that is not benefiting peripheral sales.

“This is particularly disappointing,” said Gray. “A healthy level would be closer to two pairs of 3D glasses per TV, so it’s clear that these sets at best are being chosen for future-proofing, and at worst it’s an indication that consumers cannot buy a premium set without 3D.”