LCD TV Brands’ Production Expected To Reach Record High in October

By David Hsieh

Since Q2’14, LCD TV panels have been in tight supply due to increases in purchasing by some leading LCD TV brands. As shown in our Monthly Large-Area LCD Pricing Report, prices for mainstream sizes (32”, 40”, 42”, 48”/49” and even 50”, 55”) have been increasing. In Q3’14, we reported that leading TV brands Samsung and LG Electronics increased their 2014 annual business plan to 48M and 34M units, respectively, which has helped the LCD TV panel — especially open cell — shortage to continue. Chinese TV makers also are gearing up for the Q4’14 and 2015 holidays, and are increasing their panel forecasts.

As reported in MarketWise-LCD Industry Dynamics, the top 15 LCD TV brands produced 15.5M LCD TVs in August, the highest monthly total since January. Preliminary estimates are for the production amount to reach 18.7M in September, which would be 9 percent growth Y/Y.

As TV brands continue to increase production in response to strong market pull and in preparation for the holiday seasons, we expect the top 15’s production will reach 21.1M in October, which will be 15 percent growth Y/Y, which as we show would be not only the highest this year, but ever. We then expect monthly production to fall, but maintain a higher level than in Q3.

October is typically the seasonal peak for global TV production and set shipments, but the record high expected this year shows how determined the TV brands are to see strong Q4 sales. In fact, many leading brands, including Samsung, LGE, Sony and Chinese, have reduced retail prices (for some models by double digits) in an attempt to stimulate sell-through.

All of the top 15 brands are expected to increase October production except Chinese TV makers, who are facing fewer working days due to the October National Holidays. But brands like Samsung and LGE in particular are increasing October production and shipment plans by more than 40 percent M/M. Samsung and LGE accounted for 48 percent of global revenues in Q2’14, according to the Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, so they have great power over panel allocation and price negotiation.

For panel makers, the strong uptick in October and the still-strong TV production in Q4’14 could indicate that panel demand will not fall drastically and will remain in tight supply in Q4. While excess panel shipments in Q2 caused concern for panel inventories, TV makers’ strong production plans may indicate that inventory might not be much of a concern, at least for the rest of this year.