There was a time, not long ago, that Vizio was the talk of the tech town. The company was delivering low-priced televisions, its market share was soaring, and by all accounts, it was well on its way to becoming one of the most prominent firms in the marketplace. Vizio’s success was so strong that its business model was being celebrated by nearly everyone.
But over the last several months, Vizio has retreated into its position as an also-ran in the marketplace. Gone are the days when everyone is talking about Vizio and its importance to the industry, and I don’t know about you, but aside from a few product launches here and there, I haven’t heard much about the company.
Part of that might be its issues in the television market. Back in April, research firm iSuppli reported that Vizio shipped 1.6 million LCDs during the fourth quarter of 2011. Just a year prior, the company shipped 2.9 million LCDs, representing a 44 percent decline year-over-year. Samsung, the leader in the space with 2.5 million shipments in the fourth quarter, was able to make customers think twice about Vizio by combining advanced features and a more affordable price tag.
Meanwhile, Vizio has expanded into other markets, most recently unveiling all-in-one desktops, laptops, and other products. The company has also tried its luck in the tablet market, delivering the same kind of budget-conscious ideals to the space.
But as with HDTVs, Vizio’s presence in those markets is not being felt nearly as much as the company would like. In fact, Vizio has quickly become an afterthought for many consumers.
The issue is, I’m not all that sure that today’s technology consumers are as concerned about saving money as Vizio would like. After all, why do Macs, which are typically higher priced than their Windows-based competitors, continue to sell so well? And despite some really great free or nearly free smartphones on store shelves, consumers continue to flock to the more expensive flagship models.
Even in the HDTV market, where Vizio made a name by being cheaper than alternatives, consumers are warming to the idea of paying Samsung more for its high-end features. And if and when Apple launches its own HDTV at a price that might make some knees buckle, there’s a good chance Vizio will be pushed even further down the ladder.
It’s too bad. Vizio was one of the more exciting companies in the technology space, and tried to take chances where others wouldn’t. Even better, it would deliver some really great features into products that really had no business coming in at such a cheap price.
But alas, Vizio couldn’t keep the PR steam going. And over the next several quarters, it might get even worse.