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TCL’s technology boost may help to alleviate television market downturn

China 2905 Cons. Discr. - Durables 456 Coronavirus 507 Info Tech - Tech Hardware 737 Mexico 840 Tariffs 1768 U.S. 5211

TCL Technology Group is launching a new television manufacturing joint venture with JOLED, a spin-out from Sony and Panasonic, to drive the adoption of OLED displays that are produced using additive manufacturing according to Nikkei

The action is in part designed to drive a new round of growth in television purchases, which have slowed recently. Panjiva’s data shows that U.S. imports of televisions and monitors dropped by 14.9% year over year in the 12 months to April 30. The downturn has accelerated recently, likely in response to reduced consumer demand linked to COVID-19 as flagged in Panjiva’s research of June 17. Imports in Q1 fell by 28.4% while in April the drop reached 33.0%.

TV manufacturers have also had to tackle the strictures of increased tariffs resulting from the U.S.-China trade war. Imports from China fell by 27.6% year over year in the past 12 months while those from Mexico have increased by 12.6%.

TARIFFS TAKE TOLL ON CHINESE TV SUPPLIES

Chart segments U.S. imports of televisions and monitors by origin on a monthly and three-month average basis. Source: Panjiva

Sony’s challenges can also be seen in its exports of televisions from Mexico. Like most manufacturers it faced closures of its factories in April as they were deemed non-essential. That led to a 22.0% year over year drop in exports of TV’s linked to the firm. Yet, there’d already been a marked downturn with a 25.3% slide in Q1 and an 18.5% decline in Q4.

LG Electronics and Jabil both saw a faster drop in shipments in April with a slump of 58.2% and 22.0% respectively. However, LG’s exports only fell by 8.8% in Q1 while Jabil’s had previously increased.

Samsung Electronics has proven the most robust during the past few months. Following a dip in Q3 there’s been a double digit rise in exports in Q4’19 and Q1’20 while shipments in April actually rose by 5.1%. The latter may be a challenge, however, if it has led to a build up of inventories at retailers that may subsequently cut orders.

SAMSUNG SHIPMENTS APPEAR IMMUNE TO COVID-19

Chart segments Mexican exports of televisions and monitors by shipper. Source: Panjiva

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