8K TV sales could double in 2021, as prices drop to OLED levels

Samsung Q800T QLED
(Image credit: Samsung)

8K TVs are set to gain and even larger slice of the TV market in 2021, according to analysts at Deloitte.

In an in-depth report posted on the Deloitte website, the company estimates that revenues from 8K panels will surge next year, up to a global total of $3.3 billion (around £2.5bn / AU$4.4bn). 

That number is also set to reach $5 billion in 2022. That's a massive increase over previous years, comfortably doubling 2019's $2.3 billion, and seeing a 50% increase over 2020's $2.3 billion valuation.

What does that mean for TV buyers? Well, it means there will likely be around twice as many 8K TVs being sold, if not more – given that gradually lowering prices will mean larger sales numbers are needed to accumulate the same revenues. 

"In addition, sales of equipment (such as cameras, monitors, storage, and computers) related to the creation and production of 8K content should generate hundreds of millions of dollars globally for the year," Deloitte says.

When the price is right

One of the most noteworthy predictions in Deloitte's report, though, comes in estimating the price of entry-level 8K TVs in the years to come.

Deloitte estimates that the average selling price (ASP) of 8K TVs will drop from around $4,500 in 2020 to around $3,500 in 2021 – as seen in the graph below. To put it in perspective, the average RRP in 2017 was over $8,000.

But the report adds that, "By the end of 2021, we expect that entry-level 8K TV sets will be offered for US$1,500 or less, with an ASP of US$3,300."

IHS Markit / Deloitte

(Image credit: IHS Markit / Deloitte)

While we have seen a £1,499 8K TV model already – the Samsung Q700T – it's very much the outlier and yet to make it to the US market. 2021 seems very likely to be the year that becomes the standard for first-time 8K TV buyers. That would bring the cost of an 8K TV much more in line with an OLED TV, which tends to start at around $1,399 in the US – with sales periods occasionally dropping that price to below the $1,000 mark.

The culmination of increasing 8K TV models – very present among new Samsung TVs, with the TV brand having put out four 8K models in 2020 – and dropping prices is set to have a pretty big influence on our shopping habits next year too:

"As prices have fallen, sales have grown [...] In 2021, we forecast 1 million unit sales globally, compared to 550,000 the prior year. Though this is still a drop in the ocean relative to the approximately 220 million sets of all resolutions sold in 2018, the upward trend is clear."

Part of the reason for dropping prices, though – aside from ramped-up production – will be due to "monetizing information about usage habits", made possible by the connected nature of smart TVs. The more people use 8K TVs, the more lucrative they become in the long term, as "a vendor could trade gross margin at the point of sale for revenues from advertisers and content owners throughout the TV set’s life."

We're already seeing Samsung TVs slip in the occasional ad, and Amazon push its own subscription services and affiliate TV channels in the Fire TV platform, so this isn't exactly new – but it's good to be aware of how prices are dropping, which is wrapped up in how a TV can "collect data on what programs are clicked on or, once started, paused or abandoned, which can provide a feedback loop to content creators or content aggregators such as video-on-demand companies."


(Image credit: TechRadar)

8K's obstacles

The report does delve into the issues many will have with adopting 8K technology, not least the paucity of 8K content. But Deloitte draws attention to how an increasing number of blockbuster films are filmed in 6K or 8K resolution before a downgrade for 4K Blu-ray or streaming – such as Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – showing that the technology is there, if distribution channels want to make use of it. 70mm films, too, equate quite closely to 8K resolution too.

While 8K gaming is on the horizon, too – thanks to the Xbox Series X and PS5 – capability is likely to be limited to a few flagship titles in the coming years, given that 4K gameplay is still yet to become the norm.

However, it's clear that 8K is here to stay. The only possibly argument at this point is when it'll become a must-buy purchase – and that's still likely a while off.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.