Large-area TFT LCD panels: Tablet PCs, price erosion, and what to expect in 2012

February 21, 2012 — Large-area thin-film-transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD) panel shipments are largely dictated by end markets (tablet PC panels are the fastest growing segment) and panel prices (ongoing price erosion is undercutting revenues and profitability), says NPD DisplaySearch. The TFT LCD industry is undergoing "unprecedented changes."

Large-area (9"+) TFT LCD shipments reached 702.8 million in 2011, 6% growth over 2010, while revenues declined 12% to $75.5 billion in the same period, according to NPD DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED. In 2012, TFT LCDs will see a gradual recovery period, occuring alongside technology evolution. Look for "higher resolution, thinner form factors and bezels, as well as the prevalence of LED" during 2012, predicts David Hsieh, VP, Greater China Market, NPD DisplaySearch.

Also read: Top 10 LCD manufacturing trends of 2012

Areas of decline? TV, monitor, and mini-note PC panels, mainly because of inventory adjustments in the supply chain. 2011 marked the first decline year for TV panels since the LCD TV market emerged in 2002 (On an area basis, TV panel shipments grew by 3%). Also read: Large-size LCD panel prices stabilize

Areas of growth? Notebook PCs and public displays, growing 8% and 52%, respectively. Strong momentum in tablets, especially Apple’s iPad, drove shipments to 59.7 million units, up 217% from 2010. LCD TV remains the "largest and most influential" TFT LCD application, said Hsieh. However, mobile PCs, especially notebooks and tablets, are driving growth and becoming the center of product innovation.

Table 1: Large-area TFT LCD shipments 2009-2011 (units in millions). Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED.
Application 2009 2010 2011 Growth
LCD Monitor 176.8 199.0 196.9 13% -1%
Notebook PC 141.4 178.1 192.4 26% 8%
Mini-Note 0.0 35.4 30.1 N/A -15%
Tablet 0.0 18.8 59.7 N/A 217%
Tablet PC/Mini-Note 33.1 0.0 0.0 N/A N/A
LCD TV 163.4 220.8 210.2 35% -5%
Public Display 1.1 1.7 2.6 53% 52%
Others 10.7 11.1 11.0 4% -1%
Total 526.5 665.0 702.8 26% 6%

LED backlight penetration reached 55.3% of total Q4’11 LCD TV panel shipments. According to panel makers’ plans, LED penetration in LCD TV panels will reach 60% in Q1’12 and 72% in Q4’12. In addition, many panel makers are developing low-cost direct type LED backlights, targeting market segments that value panel cost over unit thinness. NPD DisplaySearch estimated that direct type LEDs will grow to 9.3% of total LCD TV panels in Q3’12.

Table 2: LCD TV Panel Shipment Percentage by Backlight Type. Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED.
Application Q2’11 Q3’11 Q4’11 Q1’12 Q2’12 Q3’12 Q4’12
CCFL  57.3% 51.0% 44.7% 40.3% 32.5% 30.1% 27.8%
Direct Type LED 1.3% 1.0% 0.5% 3.3% 6.8% 9.3% 13.0%
Edge Type LED 41.4% 48.0% 54.8% 56.4% 60.7% 60.5% 59.2%


The NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED analyzes historical shipments and forecast projections with 100% coverage of panel makers. NPD DisplaySearch is a global market research and consulting firm specializing in the display supply chain, as well as the emerging photovoltaic/solar cell industries. For more information on NPD DisplaySearch analysts, reports and industry events, visit

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