IHS Market Downgrades its 8K TV Sales Forecast

Mike Wheatley

Analysts at the TV industry research firm IHS Markit can’t seem to make up their minds about the prospects for 8K TV.


The researcher last month downgraded its forecast for 8K TV shipments, saying it expects just 138,500 units to be sold this year, down from its original forecast of 430,000-odd shipments made in October last year. It also said it expects just 630,100 8K TVs to be sold in 2020, down from the 2 million it was previously anticipating.

The revised forecast was quietly announced at the IFA Global Press Conference in Punta Umbría, Spain, and is being blamed on an apparent lack of interest in 8K from North American consumers.

Fierce Video, which first reported the downgraded forecast, said North America counted for just 200 shipments out of the total 18,600 8K TVs sold in 2018. That compares with 9,000 sold in Europe, 6,600 in Japan, 1,500 in China and 1,300 in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.

IHS Markit told Fierce Video it expects just 43,900 8K TVs to be shipped in the US in 2019, growing to just 843,400 by 2022.

“Retailer interest in the U.S. was very weak, and in China brands were far less enthusiastic than we had expected,” IHS analyst Paul Gray told the publication.

IHS Markit’s revised forecast is in contrast to a more optimistic prediction from the Consumer Technology Association, which said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January that it expects 200,000 8K TVs to be sold in the US this year, rising to 1.5 million by 2022.

Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Mark Vena said there were several good reasons for consumer skepticism of 8K, including a lack of “meaningful content that demonstrates 8K’s improved video quality”. He also noted the high prices of 8K TVs are putting off consumers, with some “very good” 4K TVs now available at “terrific pricing” instead.

Vena added that these sentiments are unlikely to change until broadcasters start pushing more compelling native 8K content, rather than relying on upscaled 4K pictures. The problem is that this will take time, as streaming of 8K content requires “exceptionally fast broadband connections” that are few and far between at this time.

Unfortunately for 8K TV manufacturers, things are looking bleak in other regions too. Gray told Fierce Video that Japan is unlikely to fare much better, with just 80,000 8K TVs expected to be shipped in 2020. That’s in spite of the fact that Japan is the only market in the world where regular 8K broadcasts are currently available, via NHK’s dedicated satellite TV channel. Gray said part of the reason is that Japanese consumers generally prefer to buy smaller screens, below the sizes where most 4K and 8K TVs start.

Instead, it’s looking like China will emerge as the strongest market for 8K, Gray said. He said he expects 46,000 8K TVs to be sold in that country this year, growing to 369,000 in 2020.

“TVs are a status symbol in China in the way they are not in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.