Panasonic aims to rule half of European 3D TV market

Panasonic is hoping to rule the European 3D TV market by nabbing at least a 50 percent market share.

Panasonic is the fourth-largest flat panel TV manufacturer in the world, but Laurent Abadie, Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Europe, said that phenomenal demand will drive sales through the roof, giving Panasonic half of Europe’s 3D TV market share.

Speaking to Reuters at the IFA electronics trade show in Berlin, Abadie highlighted his company’s expectations of generating 15-20 percent of its European revenue from 3D TVs alone this year. As the market strengthens next year that number may even increase further. 

While Samsung was the first to hit the 3D market and is expected to have the largest global share, Panasonic has so far taken 35 percent of the market share in Europe for TVs of 50 inches or larger.

It plans to increase that by at least another 15 percent, most likely by repeating what it is doing in Japan: making all of its TVs over a certain size 3D-capable.

In Japan the size cutoff point is 42 inches, but statements from Panasonic Europe suggest it might be 50 inches here, which could just alienate some potential buyers, since many opt for a 42 inch model.

By making all models of a certain size and larger 3D-capable Panasonic will make the technology much more widespread, even for those who do not use it, just as HD-ready TVs did that for the high definition market. If Panasonic can push other manufacturers into releasing most, if not all, of their TVs as 3D-capable then the technology may catch on a lot better than expected.

In fact, Abadie revealed that Panasonic has been caught by surprise by the high demand. “We had a quite aggressive target, but demand was three to four times higher,” he said. In some cases Panasonic has not been able to keep up with the demand, which Abadie said was down to delivery problems, but he believes those issues should now be addressed. 

He also said that Panasonic is planning a number of new 3D products over the next year, which will help to keep demand high and push Panasonic towards its goal of ruling the European market.