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Uh oh: LCD TV shipments fall for the first time ever

According to NPD DisplaySearch, worldwide television shipments were down 8 percent year over year in the first quarter, representing the worst slide since the second quarter of 2009.

A member of the Panasonic TC-PVT50 series.
A member of the Panasonic TC-PVT50 series.

The television market hit a rough patch during the first quarter of 2012, according to new data from research firm NPD DisplaySearch.

During the period, total television shipments worldwide hit 51.2 million units, representing an 8 percent decline compared with the first quarter of 2011. LCDs took up the major share, tallying 84.2 percent ownership of the television market. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions took 10 percent of the market, followed by plasmas with 5.8 percent share.

The big news, however, was that for the first time ever, LCD shipments were actually down year over year. According to NPD DisplaySearch, 43.1 million LCDs were shipped worldwide during the first quarter, representing a 3 percent decline compared to the first quarter of 2011.

"Key component prices, such as LCD panels, are not expected to decline much in 2012, and many brands are concentrating on improving their bottom line," Paul Gagnon, an NPD DisplaySearch research director, said today in a statement. "Both of these trends will contribute to slowing unit volume among a price conscious consumer market."

The trouble isn't reserved solely for LCDs. NPD DisplaySearch found that plasma shipments were down 18 percent year over year, while CRTs tallied a 31 percent decline. According to NPD DisplaySearch, plasmas have officially lost their allure among consumers.

Samsung, however, hasn't. The company saw shipments grow 9 percent year over year, helping it to secure a dominant 26 percent share during the first quarter. LG and Sony followed with 14.6 percent and 9.4 percent market share across the flat-panel space, respectively. Interestingly, only Samsung saw its shipments rise over the past year. Panasonic and Sony had the worst declines -- 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

One other note from the NPD DisplaySearch study: 3D's share in television shipments has risen to just over 14 percent of all televisions and 16 percent of flat panels.