DisplaySearch: LCD industry poised for recovery in 2012

September 5, 2012 – Despite the gloomy economy and softness in consumer LCD products, suppliers of thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) expect moderate growth in both sales and shipments in 2012, according to DisplaySearch. The analyst firm projects sales of TFT-LCD panels to increase 13% to $85.3B, and shipments to rise 8% to 757M units, triggered by strong demand for mobile PCs and LCD TVs.

"The growth in shipments and revenue this year shows that the TFT LCD industry is recovering from price declines and supply chain inventory adjustments, although the recovery looks very modest," stated David Hsieh, VP of the greater China market for NPD DisplaySearch. "Panel makers are quickly adapting to the shifts in demand and developing new technologies, features, and sizes. Chinese LCD makers are rapidly increasing production, and Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese manufacturers are restructuring and deploying new technologies and processes to improve costs and display performance. It is clear that the TFT-LCD industry has not yet reached maturity but is simply entering a new chapter."

Large-area TFT panel shipments, in millions. (Source: NPD DisplaySearch)

Notebook PC panel shipments are forecast to grow 13% in 2012 thanks to strong promotions for existing models and the recently introduced ultrabook models championed by Intel, according to DisplaySearch. Total tablet PC panel shipments are expected to rise 61% Y/Y. Tablet PC panel makers are targeting shipments of 72.8M units of 9.7-in. panels, including the iPad 2 and new iPad, and private-label tablets. Shipments of 10.1-in. tablet panels are expected to exceed 17M in 2012, while shipments of 10.6-in. panels — most notably Microsoft’s Surface tablet — are ramping strongly in 2H12.

After declining for the first time ever in 2011, LCD TV panel shipments have been expected to swing back to around 6% growth in 2012, due to stronger demand in China: replacements, new models, and the country’s energy subsidy program. LCD TV panel prices rebounded in 2Q12 and prices for some panel sizes are still rising due to tight supplies. New TV panel sizes (28-in., 29-in., 39-in., 50-in., 58-in., 60-in., and 65-in.) also are playing a key role in shipment growth. LCD panel revenue growth will help improve overall large-area LCD panel revenues in 2012, notes DisplaySearch.

Large-area TFT panel revenues, in US $B. (Source: NPD DisplaySearch)

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