Sony Bleeding HDTV Market Share

You almost have to feel bad for Sony (SNE) — the company positioned itself at the high-end of the electronics market, hoping consumers would pay a hefty premium for a 50,000-to-1 contrast Bravia HDTV over a 12,000-to-1 no-name set, or extra for sleek PS3 over a plastic-looking failure-prone Xbox.

Then the recession hit.

Now, the double-whammy: First, consumers are scaling back discretionary purchases of gadgets. Secondly, when they are buying gadgets, they’re snubbing Sony for cheaper models that offer largely the same experience.

Reuters tracks the HDTV market, where Sony has lost its #2 place to something called Vizio.

LCD TV brand Vizio Inc overtook Sony during the fourth quarter to become the second-best selling flat panel TV brand in the United States after stepping up its marketing efforts, research firm iSuppli said.

Vizio, whose TVs are made by Taiwan’s Amtran Technology, took 14.3 per cent of all flat panel TV shipments in the October-December period as consumers’ appetite for more expensive brands fell amid the global financial crisis…

Fourth-placed Panasonic was the only brand to outpace Vizio’s growth, with its market share growing 3.12 percentage points to 10.7 per cent compared to Vizio’s 3.11 percentage point increase.

Samsung retained its place as the top-selling brand, with a 20.2 per cent share in the fourth quarter, down from 20.8 per cent in the third. Sony fell to No. 3 with a 13.5 per cent share, down from 13.9 per cent in the third quarter.

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