Source: CHEAA-run China Appliance magazine
Home smart projectors, once a niche product for fanciers, rise to enter households in recent years, which drives the industry to enter a fast development stage. The market size has been expanding even amid the overall gloominess during the pandemic. Omnichannel statistics from All View Cloud show that, retail sales volume and value of smart projectors in China stood at 7.679 million units and 15.64 billion Yuan respectively in 2022, pointing to a significant rise YoY.
Brands on the market
Smart projectors are mostly sold to households in recent years and the sales growth has been big, which draw in an influx of new players. The market is concentrated with XGIMI well ahead in the first league, JMGO, Epson, Formovie and Dangbei following behind making the second league, and the rest in the third league. “Despite the large number of brands, the market is highly concentrated with more than ten brands taking a market share of eighty percent.” Tang Jianbo, an industry expert, says.
Aside from traditional projector makers, TV makers including Hisense, Samsung and Sharp and Internet brands such as Huawei and Tencent have also dipped their toes into the field, according to Ye Mengqi from the marketing division of BenQ. Monitored data of online channels from All View Cloud show that the number of smart projector brands on the market exceeded 200 in H1 2022.
Domestic brands make the backbone of the industry with sales of XGIMI alone almost equal the combined sales of the second league brands, according to multiple sources. Of the top 5 best sellers of home smart projectors, only Epson is an international brand, which lends credence to the fact that domestic brands are the front runners of the market.
LCD V.S. DLP
It’s worth noting that LCD products, once considered the underdog of the industry, rose to take a bigger share of the market than DLP products in 2022.
DLP display technology has once been the mainstream of the projector industry. But as smart projectors gain traction in households, LCD products sell in large numbers due to its low pricing and as a result, the market size of it has been on a growth. The market share taken by LCD products has rose to 70% in Q3 2022 from the 40% a year ago, as I learned from an interviewee.
It is learned that mainstream brands such as XGIMI, Epson, JMGO, BenQ, Dangbei and Formovie have DLP products on the market and some even place a big bet on DLP to aim at high range market. Witnessing the fast growth of the low- and mid-end LCD products, top 5 industry players also roll out their LCD products to keep their leading position. But 3LCD products are few on the market as it costs high and ages fast and the technology is dominated by Sony and Epson.
Industry insiders point out that the skyrocketing sales of LCD products was made not only due to the low pricing of LCD models, but the rollout of 700 lumen LCD products on the market which significantly improve the performance and life expectancy of LCD products.
A trend towards high-picture-quality, smart, and scenario-based projectors
Picture quality is still what consumers care most about home smart projectors at the end of the day. Though the market is dominated by low-lumen smart projectors, models with 1000 lumens and more grow fast and thanks to the breakthrough Osram made in light source technology, models with 2000 lumens and more also made good sales. Meanwhile, home smart projectors have been upgraded in brightness and picture quality in recent two years with FHD products taking a relatively big market share and UHD products on a rise.
The post 90s generation who prioritize smart, premature and personalized consumption, has become mainstream consumers. Thus, intelligent obstacle avoidance function, screen adaptive technology and motion compensation technology are highlighted in promotion. The scenarios of home smart projectors have been expanded to include socializing and video gaming.
The recognition of consumers brings unprecedented opportunities to the industry. But amid the fast development of the industry, problems and challenges emerge.
(1) Limitations in use. Projectors are usually placed at seat level or ceiling mounted. If you put it on the counter, it should be somewhere with no obstacles in the way and that does not get affected when people walk. But still, the light source could be harmful for the eyes when placed at seat level. Ceiling mounting sounds like a better way, but it is not suitable for some households who have their ceiling furnished. Beyond the above mentioned, a white wall or a projector screen is necessary. And for people who are used to TVs with a sound system before them, it takes time to adjust to a sound system behind them.
(2) Clarity. While most TVs boast 2K, 4K or even higher resolution, 1080P is a quite high resolution for home projectors. There are 2K and 4K projectors on the market, but they are usually charged at more than 10,000 RMB.
(3) Disunification of lumen measurement methods. With some enterprises use ISO to measure lumens, some ANSI, and others their own standard, products with the claimed lumens on the market might not deliver the expected picture quality of consumers.
(4) Dependence on imports of key components. The core components used in LED light source and laser light source are made by overseas enterprises such as Philips and Osram. Besides, the technologies of lens and chips are also dominated by overseas enterprises.
Plus, consumer education is also a concern of the industry. In a grow-up stage, the industry saw a mix of brands and products of good and bad quality, and consumers do not have a good awareness of these products. In this stage, consumer education becomes very important.