•Battle for dominance of smart television sales

By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA

Manufacturers of flat screen televisions (LCD, LED, HD, OLED, 4K, 3D, UHD and Android) are presently locked in intense competition for consumers’ patronage in the Nigerian television segment to boost their market shares, Business Hallmark findings can reveal.

Though, CRT TVs are still largely in use, flat screen is the new ‘toy’ for a large population of Nigeria’s estimated 200 million people. According to the findings, while flat screen ownership is on the rise, so too is the market which is significantly impacting on the market value of the big brands.

Owing to the introduction of new market strategies like technology and pricing by manufactures and their distributors, the space for successful, high-end flat screen television makers in the country is daily shrinking to two major players – Samsung and LG – while other hitherto big brands, like Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba, have faded in prominence or struggle to compete.

While Sharp is gradually crawling back into the challenge and is fighting a hard battle to do catch-up, previous market leaders like Toshiba, Panasonic and Sony are struggling and are on the brink of going into extinction in the country.

Smaller or less well-known brands like HiSense, TCL and Haier Thermocool are also doing enough damage to the big players’, patiently nibbling the little they could get from the already saturated market.

“As flat screens penetration deepens in Nigeria, affordable TVs will continue to be the major trend. This trend is not expected to change soon as flat screens with high quality features with low and affordable price will continue to be the focus in the Nigerian television market.

“This is where Samsung and LG, both South Korean brands, have been able to leverage on with their pocket friendly screens”, said a sales representative of LG products at Fouani Stores located on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos.

BH investigations indicate that between themselves, Samsung and LG control over 70percent of the Nigerian television market. In the course of exploring the story which spanned over two weeks, our correspondent visited over thirty branches of GTB, UBA, Zenith, Union, Access, Diamond and Polaris Banks on Lagos Island and mainland, and the findings were outstanding. In all the branches visited, LG and Samsung screens adorned their walls. No other brand, not even one, was sighted.

The same scenario cuts across most public places visited in Lagos. At the Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, LG is the favoured brand. Also, at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, Samsung is the preferred brand.

An online survey done by BH to know the preferred brand among Nigerians also confirmed the trend. Over 70% of the 478 respondents say they use LG and Samsung, 11.4% confirmed they use Sharp, while the rest are spread between Sony, Haeir Thermocool, HiSence, Panosonic and others.

The survey also established that while LG is in the lead with over 37% control of the market, the rich and the middle class prefer Samsung. According to most Nigerians who use LG products, price and affordability were the determinant factors.

When BH visited the shelves of some electronic shops and super marts around Lagos, including Cash and Carry, Hubmart, Shoprite, Spar, among others, several TV models such as Plasma, LED TV, OLED TV, LCD TV, and other flat screen were displayed to Nigerians to make their pick. It was observed in most stores visited that LCD and Plasma TVs are now getting scarce because most global manufacturers have discontinued their production.

A salesgirl at the popular Cash & Carry Electronics Stores at Ikeja, informed our correspondent that while plasma televisions are no longer available in the market, most Nigerians still mistake all flat screen TVs as Plasma.

Prices of flat panel televisions depend on the screen size. The larger the screen sizes, the higher the cost of the TV. It was also observed that the screen resolution and available ports as well as features like 3D or smart capability contribute to the price. Prices of flat panel televisions also depend on the brand.

The manufacturers are competing for additional market share with the release of new flat screens, such as OLED TV and LED TVs, which are state of the art in television display technology and greatly economize room space.

Apart from introducing newer modern models, new features to ensure greater acceptability, including organic light emitting diode, OLED screen, facial recognition (Face ID), wireless-charging support and an upgraded dual camera are been added to older versions.

However, screen size is not the only determinant of pricing. Screen resolution and available ports as well as cool features like 3D or Smart capability contribute to the price. Prices of flat panel televisions also depend on the brand.

For example brands like Hisense or Polystar offer cheaper prices for their TVs while LG and Samsung TVs are a bit pricier, but with more support and quality.

In the same vein the cost of a flat panel TV depends on the screen technology, Plasma, LCD, OLED, or LED. OLED TVs are the most expensive followed by LED TVs and Plasma that is for TVs of the same screen size and features.

However, Plasma TVs were only available at larger screen sizes like from 40-inches. Prices of TVs also vary depending on series with newer series fitted with latest technologies costing more than older series.

The costs also vary depending on location. While prices are a bit on the high side on Lagos Island and Ikeja, they are between 15 and 20% lower elsewhere.

Sony TV Prices

According to findings, prices of the same Sony products are between N25,000 and N135,000 higher than that of LG and Sumsung. For example, while the price of a Sony Bravia 32-inch LED TV starts from ₦85,000 to ₦155,000, that of LG and Samsun ranges between N60,000 and N65,000.

Other products by Sony include the 40-inch LED TV which goes for between ₦132,500 and ₦250,000; 49-inch LED TV – ₦339,000 to ₦450,000; 50-inch LED TV – ₦343,000 to ₦750,000; 55-inch LED TV – ₦385,000 to ₦1,250,000; 60-inch LED TV – ₦490,000 to ₦1,100,000; 65-inch LED TV – ₦740,000 – ₦1,100,000; 70-inch LED TV – ₦1,300,000 to ₦2,150,000 and the 75-inch LED TV, which sells for ₦1,850,000.

Samsung TV (LED, LCD and Plasma)

In Lagos stores, a 20-inch Samsung LED TV goes for between N38,900 to N52,000; 24-inch LED TVs (Smart TVs) – N48,000 to N75,000; 32-inch LED TV – N60,000 to N200,000

Samsung 40-inch LED TV – N119,000 – N250,000; Samsung 43-inch LED TV – N155,000 to N300,000; Samsung 48-inch LED TV (Curved TV) – N315,000 – N395,000; Samsung 49-inch LED TV – N187,000 – N500,000 and Samsung 50-inch LED TV – N295,000 to N650,000.

Also, Samsung 55-inch LED TV goes for between N360,000 and N700,000; 55-inch QLED TV (Curved TV) – N1,200,000; 65-inch LED TV – N590,000 to N3,000,000; 75-inch LED TV – N1,320,000 to N3,500,000; 78-inch LED TV (SUHD) – N3,700,000 to N4,500,000; 82-inch LED TV – N3,200,000 to N4,500,000 and 85-inch LED TV – N3,600,000 to N4,500,000

LG TV (LED, LCD and Plasma)

Also, the prices of LG brands are relatively close to its major rival, Samsung. Checks revealed that while a LG 20-inch LED TV sells for between ₦36,500 and ₦45,000 in Lagos, the 24-inch LED TV goes for between ₦42,500 to ₦55,000.

Others are the 26-inch Monitor TV – ₦35,000 to ₦42,000; 32-inch LED TV (HD) – ₦59,500 to ₦65,000; 32-inch LED TV (Full HD) – ₦77,000 to ₦150,000;

43-inch LED TV (Full HD) – ₦110,000 – ₦200,000; 43-inch LED TV (4K UHD) – ₦190,000 to ₦290,000; 47-inch LED TV – ₦360,000 to ₦450,000; 49-inch LED TV (Full HD) – ₦155,000 – ₦250,000; 49-inch LED TV (4K UHD) – ₦225,000 to ₦350,000; 50-inch LED TV (4K UHD) – ₦195,000 – ₦300,000; 55-inch LED TV (Full HD) – ₦189,000 to ₦700,000; 55-inch LED TV (Full HD) – ₦255,000 to ₦1,100,000 and 55-inch OLED TV – ₦420,000 – ₦1,900,000.

Other LG products on display include 60-inch LED TV (4K UHD) – ₦330,000 to ₦850,000;

65-inch LED TV (4K UHD) – ₦449,000 – ₦800,000; 77-inch OLED TV (4K UHD) – ₦6,990,000; 86-inch LED TV – ₦3,000,000 to ₦5,000,000 and 105-inch LED TV – ₦24,000,000 to ₦28,000,000.

Sharp TV Prices

Sharp products come on the heels of Samsung and LG in the area of pricing. Her products, also of high quality, sell for much lower. A Sharp 23-inch LED TV goes for between ₦42,000 and ₦75,000; 24-inch LED TV – ₦42,900 to ₦75,000; 32-inch LED TV – ₦54,000 to ₦150,000

39-inch LED TV – ₦86,000 to ₦115,000; 40-inch LED TV – ₦97,000 to ₦150,000; 50-inch LED TV – ₦175,000 to ₦250,000; 58-inch LED TV – ₦380,000 to ₦750,000; 65-inc ; Touchscreen Signage Monitor – ₦1,600,000 and 70-inch Touchscreen Signage Monitor – ₦2,400,000

Panasonic TV

The price of Panasonic products, which is in the class of Sony, is also considerably lower and competes with Samsung and LG products. For example, a 24-inch Panasonic LED TV sells for between ₦20,000 and ₦75,000; 32-inch LED TV – ₦58,000 to ₦125,000; 43-inch LED TV – ₦120,000 to ₦270,000 and 49-inch LED TV – ₦196,000 to ₦750,000.

On the lower side are Haier Thermocool and TCL products.

A Haier Thermocool 32-inch LED TV in the market is between ₦55,400 and ₦105,000; 42-inch LED TV – ₦100,800 to ₦215,000; 55-inch LED TV – ₦186,100 to ₦380,000 and 40-inch LED TV – ₦95,000 to ₦170,000

TCL TV Prices

Also, TCL products are cheaper, but not as acceptable as LG and Samsung products. A TCL 40-inch LED TV goes for between ₦115,000 and ₦175,000 in the market; 43-inch LED TV – ₦119,900 to ₦195,000; 49-inch LED TV – ₦169,000 to ₦350,000; 48-inch LED TV – ₦400,000 and 70-inch LED TV – ₦1,000,000

In an effort to establish why the price of Samsung and LG products are much lower than those of their older peers, BH discovered that the duo of LG and Samsung deployed several strategies to cut costs of production. While subtly checking at the back of the products for their places of origin, it was discovered that though, Samsung and LG originate from South Korea, virtually all their products in Nigeria inspected are not from South Korea. Over 95 percent of the products examined are manufactured in Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and China, where cost of labour and running business are relatively lower.

This is not the same with most Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic products which were manufactured in Japan, noted for her high cost of production (i.e) labour cost, environmental fees and other regulatory fees. All these fees, add up to other cost, push up the price of Japanese products, making them to lose out in the ever tightening Nigerian market.

Further investigation also revealed that the competition in the market become fiercer following the deployment of various types of technological inventions by the manufacturers designed to improve consumers’ daily lives.

The duo has unleashed new designs, pricing, after sales service, internet enabled TV, USB port embedded TV, amongst other strategies to rule the market. Both LG and Samsung, it was gathered, have also produced power efficient televisions. The technology deployed by the two Korean firms is 20 percent more power efficient than those of its peers. These developments have heightened the battle for market share and leadership of the market.

In order to get a hold on the market, these leaders have also manufactured various sizes, colours and stylishly designed television sets that suits consumers’ income bracket. Also, the two manufacturers depend on retailers and unit sellers to reach their market audience, without neglecting the concept of delivering the items to the distributors directly.

Speaking to BH on the cut throat competition and relentless marketing the company have deployed to gain a large chunk of the Nigerian market, the General Manager, Home Entertainment, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Steve Ryu, attributed it to constant technological innovations and collaborations with other brands.

“By cooperating with other firms, LG has been able to combine the knowledge and experience of other companies with its own technological know-how. In 2013, LG Electronics was able to reach an agreement with MTN Business, the business-to-business entity of MTN Nigeria to have MTN broadband internet services bundled with LG smart TVs sold in Nigeria.

“The deal made it possible for customers who buy LG Smart TV to also access MTN HyNet, the 4G broadband internet service offered by MTN Business.

“This unique partnership is ultimately about meeting the needs of our customers in a bid to provide cutting edge technological products and services to them in comfort and style.”

Ryu further stated that with the LG Smart TV and MTN HyNet Internet service that comes with free 8GB data for 3 months, customers are bound to experience limitless online opportunities. “We are convinced that this partnership will go a long way to create the best of relaxation and fun time for our customers,” declared Ryu.

Also, the Product Manager, TV, at Samsung Electronics West Africa Limited, Saurabh Bhall, while responding to inquiries by BH through mail, said “Yes, during the recession, customer focus 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.

“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”, Bhall further said.