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Tablet Popularity Drives Growth of LCD Panel Market Despite Slumps

Nov. 22, 2013
An increased number of LCD tablet panel shipments is driving the entire market as panels for TVs post weak numbers and those for desktop PCs and notebooks see double-digit slumps.

Since Apple’s introduction of the iPad, tablets have continually taken over the market for large-sized computer-related panels. The number of worldwide liquid-crystal-display (LCD) shipments for tablet panels amounted to 186.6 million units for the first three quarters of 2013—up from 96.2 million during the same three-quarter period of the previous year. As a whole, LCD panel shipments reached 628.3 million units--an 8% increase from 2012, according to the IHS report, “LCD Shipment Database.”

The LCD panel market is segmented into four major applications: tablets, TVs, desktop PC monitors, and notebooks. As the sectors for desktop and notebook computers decrease, an increase in the number of tablets shipped is mitigating the loss within this market. Although tablet panel shipments dipped in the second quarter in comparison to the first, it is the only LCD sector to show any kind of increase in the third. It also is showing an increased number of shipments from its corresponding levels a year ago.

Although the number of LCD panels for TVs saw a 4% increase so far this year, researchers forecast weak results for the fourth quarter as shipments grow at lower-than-expected levels. The slowdown has subsequently caused an oversupply, high inventories, and a continuous slew of price reductions. From January to September, panel pricing for 39-, 40-, and 42-in.-sized televisions dropped from 14% to 18%. Panels for 50-in. sets declined from 10% to 12%.

The desktop-PC-monitor and notebook segments have been hit the hardest with both showing double-digit deficits. Monitor shipments were down 10% from 135.5 to 121.5 million units and notebooks were down 20% from 174.9 to 140.6 million. Because the fourth quarter is the busiest time for consumer and retail sales due to holiday shopping, a steady eye is being kept on the market. Research indicates that combined fourth-quarter shipments will be up from the third quarter by about 5%. But that volume will only show 0.6% growth from the same period last year.

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