Toshiba knocks Panasonic out of Big 4, LED panels planned

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Toshiba Australia is quietly toasting its success at the moment, with recent GfK figures showing it displaced Panasonic in the hotly contested LCD panel rankings for March 2009.

Based on market share, Toshiba managed to break the ‘Big 4’ domination of the LCD market, taking Panasonic’s fourth place. Samsung, LG and Sony claimed the top three places.

This is a big achievement for Toshiba Australia, who only recently took over the distribution of its panels from Castel. Under the previous distribution agreement, Toshiba had slipped in the marketplace, so to not only maintain its life in the market, amongst a number of famous withdrawals, but to also break into the top four brands is impressive.

Even after Toshiba Australian took over the distribution from Castel, it was beholden to previously arranged product planning. Now that time has passed, Toshiba is in total control of its 12-to-18-month product schedule, which means it can position products according to how it sees the market moving.

“We started seeing differences in our market share when we started influencing our product plan,” said Toshiba AV product manager (LCD), Sanjay Bhartiya.

Part of Toshiba ongoing product plan is to not lead the way with new technology, but to observe market movements and consumer acceptance, and then offer products that it believes have already gained traction in the marketplace.

 An example of this is LED backlighting. Bhartiya told Current.com.au that it does not want to be involved in the early adoption period, but there are plans to introduce LED panels into Australia in 2010.

For now, Bhartiya and his team at Toshiba are not so much boasting about beating Panasonic in market share, but planning a more permanent positioning as the number five brand and more frequent excursions into the top four.

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