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Walmart Acquires Vizio, Set to Overtake Samsung as the Largest TV Brand in the US, Says TrendForce

21 February 2024 Consumer Electronics Iris Hu

US retail giant Walmart announced on February 20th, that it has acquired smart TV brand Vizio for US$2.3 billion, aiming to accelerate the growth of its advertising business: Walmart Connect. Since its launch in 2021, Walmart Connect has seen double-digit annual growth in both its online and offline retail media advertising ventures. Vizio has been expanding its device ecosystem and its SmartCast TV OS, boasting over 18 million active users, according to TrendForce.

The platform’s net revenue reached approximately $156 million, with SmartCast’s ARPU sitting at $31.55—a 14% YoY increase. This growth has contributed to a 27% annual increase in advertising revenue, serving as a primary driver for the acquisition. TrendForce highlights that Walmart’s proprietary TV brand, ONN, currently operates on the Roku TV platform. A complete shift to SmartCast could forgo the need for additional platform licensing fees, potentially leading to higher advertising revenue gains.

ONN: On the rise to become America’s second-largest TV brand amid economic inflation

High inflation in the US last year tightened consumer budgets, turning budget-friendly, high-value products into market darlings. Walmart responded by launching an array of affordable models, including a 32-inch TV at $98, a 50-inch at $198, and a 65-inch for $298. These models became best-sellers, propelling ONN’s US market share to 13.7%—a growth of 3.7 percentage points.

This surge has helped ONN surpass TCL, Vizio, LG, and Hisense to secure its position as the second-largest TV brand in the US. Although Vizio’s market share dropped to 10.4% last year, Walmart’s acquisition is expected to propel it past Samsung, making it the largest TV brand in the US. This year, the collaboration between ONN and Vizio could break into the top five in global TV shipments.

Acquisition winners: Panel maker-Innoux and ODM-AMTC

The merger benefits a network of contract manufacturers and panel makers; nearly 80% of Vizio’s production is split among Innolux, BOEVT, and AMTC, while around 60% of ONN’s production is handled by AMTC, followed by Changhong and KTC. Post-acquisition, AMTC is expected to secure nearly 40% of the orders—becoming the largest ODM—with Innolux, BOEVT, and AMTC following at 15%, 14%, and 10%, respectively.

ONN offers its TVs at retail prices that are, on average, 20–25% lower than Vizio’s. This pricing strategy poses a challenge for Innolux, Vizio’s main ODM, which is grappling with low-profit margins for ODMs, minimal scope for reducing panel prices, and overcapacity. Nonetheless, Innolux could see a boost in panel shipments, especially for ONN’s popular 32-inch and 50-inch models. Additionally, if the US imposes higher tariffs on TVs imported from China, Innolux’s manufacturing facilities in Taiwan could gain a competitive advantage.

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