By Princewill Ekwujuru
THE Inflationary pressure in the country has pitched Smart Television (TV) manufacturers on the strategic deployments to control market share.
The major brands in the Smart TV market like, Life is Good (LG), Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Hisense, Syinix, Scanfrost, JVC among others, have obviously torn consumers along decision lines on which of the brands to purchase based on price and added benefits.
However, the leadership tussle in the market appears to have narrowed to LG, Samsung and Panasonic, with their rivalry reaching a fever pitch, as the trio unleashed new designs, pricing, after sales service, internet enabled TV, USB port embedded TV, amongst other strategies to rule the market. However, Sony brand which is among the market leaders is positioned as elitist brand used by high-end consumers given its high prices.
The leadership contenders: LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic have also introduced new TV designs named, Ultra HD Curve TV and Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) TV by LG, Samsung and Sony, is described as the next generation TV. Another strategy is the input of an anti-theft TV device by Panasonic and Android 3D TV by Sony.
Smaller inches TV
Vanguard Companies & Markets (C&M) findings reveal that while prices are rising, demand for bigger sized (inches), ranging from 42 inches, are dropping, while demand for smaller ones are stable as low-to-middle income consumers are forced to go for smaller inches TV which they consider pocket friendly. C&M findings indicated that the 24 and 32 inches TV screen size, sells more because it is the preferred size for homes. It was revealed that the 20 and 40 inches are also doing well in the market.
A look at the prices show that the same products are now selling between 20 to 40 percent higher than in the first half of 2016. It was also observed that the variations in TV prices are dependent on the model and specification. For instance, a 32-inch LG smart TV sells for N86,000 today as against N68,800 in 2016, which is an increase of 20percent, while a 32-inch of Samsung sales for N131,000 presently as against N104, 000 in 2016, and N90,000 32-inch Panasonic was N72,000 last year.
From the price tags, C&M findings indicated that LG and Samsung are using competitive pricing to drive patronage as more Nigerian’s go for pocket friendly TV. A 24-inch Samsung LED TV costs N48,000, while LG’s is N45,000, compared to Panasonic’s N57, 840. Also, Panasonic 40 inches smart TV costs N165,000, while Samsung and LG of the same inches costs N147,000. Sony, positioning as elitist, sells 40 inches Bravia for N215, 500. LG has no 40-inch TV in its product range.
At the high end market, Samsung sells a 48-inch Curve TV for N550,000, LG sells the same for N510,000. The brands are also competing on after-sales services. C&M findings show that LG, Samsung, Panasonic have established a training school where Nigerians are trained on how to repair their various products, aside TV, which also serve as an after-sales service centre, a strategy that has endeared the brands to consumers.
C&M had chats with some of the consumers on their buying decisions. According to Abel Akachukwu, “all these new designs and technologies are ploy by manufacturers to position the various brands in the minds of consumers, and make good sells margin. Though, it is a good step for the TV segment of the electronics market, today consumers can do a lot of things with their TV.”
Confirming the findings of C&M, another consumer, Awoyemi Adeyemi, said the high prices of large screen TV has forced buyers to drop desired option thereby going for lesser TV sizes, a situation he blamed on the current poor economic situation. Richard Egboka, a consumer, who claims to be in ‘love’ with electronics, particularly TV, said, “the designs TV makers bring to the market is amazing, they have craftily changed the perception of consumers in this hard time.”
According to Saurabh Bhall, Product Manager, TV, at Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited: “Yes, during recession customer focus has shifted to Chinese (C- Brands) due to their price positioning specially in 32″ and small sizes. Till 2015 only LG and Samsung were two brands in Nigeria commanding almost 90 percent market share, but this has dropped now as C Brands are becoming active, but still we predict, value-wise, we are able to maintain our leadership position.
“Thus, from Samsung side although we are not out of small sizes but we are focusing on 40″ and above size. Customers who still want durable products take it as a long term investment. If you compare the products in entry range of each size segment side-by-side with C Brands definitely you will find a marked difference in picture quality across the range specially brightness seven (7) contrast levels.”
Bhall further said: “Apart from this we are now focusing on added benefits to our consumers. For Smart TV’s we have a One Remote (Single Remote) which can control all the AV devices like DVD Player, Home Theatre, Satellite Box which are connected to the TV. Even small benefits like on the source selection you will find that TV recognizes all products connected by name and does not show HDMI 1, HDMI2, AV1, AV2, TV etc by source. Also many similar benefits are available including faster response time which we have compared with all brands.
“Also we have been promoting our range of Curved TV’s in the Mid to Premium segments. These are available in FHD and UHD resolutions. These provide the customers with a more involved TV watching experience and Samsung is the only brand offering these currently,” the product manager stated.
According to the Managing Director, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Taeick Son, “The OLED TV market alone is expected to hold an estimated 1.4 million TVs in global market. LG holds around 80 per cent market share of the OLED category.”
Son also said: “LG is perceived as the de facto leader and promoter of large screen OLED technology. This year, the company continued to amaze consumers and experts by exceeding expectations and showcasing the most innovative, forward-thinking concepts in TV design, picture and sound quality, in its award-winning W7 OLED TV series.
“The W7 is the driver to consolidate LG’s OLED category leadership even further. The W7 is expected to provide a spill over effect and enhance LG OLED’s brand power while differentiating LG among OLED category. In order to heighten the appeal of OLED, LG Electronics is expanding its OLED TV line-up, providing an array of products including 77, 65, and 55-inch TVs with flat displays. In the top end this year in second half we will be launching our top of the line QLED TV in Nigeria which have already received international acclaim in various exhibitions including CES and will be available in 55″, 65″, 75″ 82″ and 88″ sizes.’’
The global smart TV market is expected to reach $256.44billion by end 2017, with a compound annual growth, CAGR, of 11.2percent, from the market value of $265billion in 2016, which was 17 percent CAGR, according to a new market research conducted by MarketsandMarkets, a US based research firm. This shows that market expectation in 2017 dropped by 5.8 percent, which was occasioned by the economic contraction witnessed in parts of the world economy.