Flat-panel TV sales jump 23% over last year, Vizio leads the way

We'd already heard that Vizio has vaulted back into first place among LCD TV manufacturers, but a new series of numbers compiled by the folks at DisplaySearch is now shedding a bit more light onto how much the flat-panel TV market as a whole has surged over the past year. Apparently, about 7.2 million flat-panel sets were moved during the first quarter of 2009 alone, which represents a sizable 23% increase over the numbers from the first quarter of 2008. DisplaySearch also expectedly reconfirms Vizio's number one status, although its figures are a tad more conservative and peg Vizio's market share at a still impressive 18.9% (as opposed to the 21.6% found by iSupply), which is well above the 8.5% earned by the likes of rival Funai (producer of TVs for Sylvania, Emerson and other low-cost brands). As you might expect, higher-end brands like Sony and Samsung weren't as able to buck the economic downturn quite so easily, and they actually saw their sales decrease compared to the same period last year.