Panel suppliers are being forced to reshape their large area TFT LCD business plans this year as market demand for various applications continues to change rapidly. According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large Area TFT Panel Shipment Report, TFT LCD panel suppliers expect to ship 710 million large area (9”+) panels worldwide in 2013, down 6 percent Y/Y from 754 million in 2012.
The biggest drops are in PC applications, with monitor and notebook panel shipments each falling 13 percent Y/Y and mini-note PC panels falling 66 percent Y/Y. Tablet PC panel shipments continue to grow, but at the much-reduced rate of 4 percent Y/Y, compared to 61 percent in 2012. LCD TV panel shipments also continue to moderate, growing 6 percent Y/Y compared to 10 percent in 2012.
This is the first Y/Y shipment decline for the industry. Large-area TFT LCD revenue is expected to fall 2 percent Y/Y—from $83.6 billion in 2012 to $81.7 billion in 2013—as increases in the average screen sizes for TV, monitor, and public display panels moderate price declines.
“Changes in demand mean that the conventional PC market is facing a decline, while the tablet PC market remains strong and the LCD TV market grows. The Chinese marketplace continues to set global trends and holds a great deal of influence over panel makers’ size strategy, product roadmaps and shipment plans,” noted David Hsieh, NPD DisplaySearch vice president of greater China. “As a result of these factors, panel makers are planning for reduced capacity allocation and shipments for notebook PC and desktop monitor panels, shifting more toward LCD TV panels.”
TFT LCD panel manufacturers are now focused on leveraging new technologies and product specifications, such as 4K×2K, super slim bezel, high transmittance open cell, high resolution, IPS/FFS, ultra-slim, light weight, high color gamut and the integration of up-scaling circuitry, touch and mechanical parts. However, the challenge for panel makers remains that while they are aiming to increase shipments this year they are still faced with the reality of having to absorb excess inventory from 2012.
China Driving Increased Demand, Value in LCD TV Panel Market
Panel makers still have aggressive shipment forecasts for LCD TV panels, aiming for 244 million shipments worldwide in 2013. China continues to be the largest influencer on the global LCD TV panel market, not only in terms of volume, but also in configuration, such as LED backlighting, 3D, open cell, the BMS model, new TV sizes, and 4Kx2K. The industry experienced 13 percent Y/Y sales growth for LCD TVs during China’s three-week May Labor Day sales season, despite concerns about inventory adjustments.
“Due to the strong momentum in China, we forecast that global demand will continue to increase throughout 2013 for LCD TV panels that incorporate more sophisticated technologies,” added Hsieh.