[THE INVESTOR] Sony's resurgence in the premium TV market is starting to threaten the lead enjoyed by Korea's Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, industry data showed on June 11.
Data provided by market research firm IHS showed that in the first half of this year, Sony accounted for 39 percent of all TVs with a price tag exceeding US$1,500, up more than twofold compared with 17.5 percent tallied by the Japanese company in the previous quarter.
In the January-March period, LG's worldwide market share in the upper-end market fell 8 percentage points from the previous quarter to 35.8 percent, placing it second. Samsung trailed at 13.2 percent, after falling 7 percentage points from the October-December period of 2016.
The numbers represent a sharp shift, because only a year ago.
Samsung enjoyed a 39.5 percent market share in the premium segment, with LG and Sony trailing at 17.7 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively.
"Samsung's dominance has been shaken by aggressive promotions of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs by LG and Sony," an industry insider said.
He said that while the two South Korean companies still controlled the ultra-high end TV market, with the unit price of a set topping $2,500, Sony was catching up.
In the ultra-expensive TV areas, LG has ruled supreme this year, with a market share of 40.8 percent in the first quarter, unchanged from a year earlier. Sony's market share jumped 9.8 percentage points to 34.4 percent, while Samsung surrendered 12.4 percentage points to 11 percent.
Among 70-inch TV sets, Samsung held 31.6 percent of the market in the first quarter, with Sony trailing at 26.6 percent.
In 2015, the gap stood at more than 20 percentage points.
Industry watchers said to counter Sony's rise, LG and Samsung have both moved into even a more value-added market and have started to improve their marketing efforts.
"South Korean companies are still leading in the cutting-edge TV arena, yet Sony is doing all it can to overtake them. This is making it imperative for Samsung and LG to stay one step ahead of their rival," a consumer electronics expert said.
By Kim Young-won and news wires (email@example.com)