TV Panels’ Shipment Demands Unaffected by Seasonality as January’s Shipments for Large-Size Panels Fell by 3%, TrendForce Reports

1 Mar

The newest panel shipment report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce, states that the total shipments for January amounted to 67.95 million units, a drop of 3% compared with the previous month. All six major panel makers experienced decline in their shipments. Based on applications, only TV panels ran counter to the negative trend and posted a monthly shipment growth of 1.2%. The biggest decrease in January’s monthly shipments occurred in the tablet application with a drop of 7.8%. The IT panel shipments were affected by seasonality. Monthly shipments for monitor and notebook panels fell by 4.8% and 1.5% respectively.

Moving on to February, WitsView’s Assistant Research Manager Winnie Chen noted that Chinese New Year reduces the number of workdays for this month, so the overall shipments of large-size panels are expected to fall by around 6.6%. TV panel shipments for February are projected to fall by nearly 10% for the first time after eight straight months of strong demands. Recovery is expected to happen as early as March, when several new models of big brand television sets are introduced to the market. As for IT panels, demands remain weak due to seasonal factors. Monitor panel shipments for February is estimated to fall by roughly 3.5%, while the level of notebook panel shipments will stay just about the same. Likewise, the monthly shipments of tablet panels will see a considerable drop of 10% in February.

The shipments of large-size TV panels increased in January, reflecting strong demands in a supposedly weak market season. For the TV shipments among the six major panel makers, only LGD and Innolux posted positive monthly growths of 7.7% and 1.4% respectively. Innolux benefited from the Mexican government’s huge order for LCD TVs. With the shipping of Mexico-bound TV sets scheduled to begin in March, the shipments of 23.6-inch panel reached to nearly 1.8 million pieces in January, resulting in a double-digit monthly growth. WitsView anticipates this wave of strong panel demands will continue to May, and this means that Innolux’s G8.5 fab will keep operating at full capacity. As for LGD’s performance in January, its monthly shipments of 32-inch TV panels grew by nearly 9%, and its shipments of TV panels sized 40 inches and above had the best results with the 43-inch shipments seeing double-digit growth. According to Chen, strong demands for the 43-inch will go on as Chinese TV brands start their verification process on LGD’s 43-inch RGBW panels and prepare to launch their new TV models during the Chinese Labour Day sales in May in China.

WitsView’s breakdown of panel size categories shows that the prices of 32-inch TV panel have gone up significantly since last year. Aiming to boost their margins and get rid of excess production capacities, Chinese and Korean panel makers have also started to expand their scales of production for the 32-inch. As a result, the January shipments of this panel size grew by 2% compared with the previous month. However, the steady increase in the supply of 32-inch panels will result in pricing uncertainties and foreseeable supply-demand inversion.

In the area of notebook panels, Microsoft’s subsidies in 2014 managed to expand the market share of the 15.6-inch notebook panel to 46%. Microsoft’s new subsidy scheme for 2015 targets notebook with screens sized 14 inches and below. Thus, the 14-inch saw a monthly growth of 2% in January.

In the area of tablet panels, Apple, which has been the leader of the tablet market, is expected to experience a dramatic decrease in shipments of products belonging to the iPad series in the first quarter of 2015. WitsView estimates iPads’ quarterly decline will get to 52%. The contraction of the iPad shipments will continue to affect shipments of panels sized 7.9 and 9.7 inches. Compared with the prior month, the January shipments of the 7.9-inch fell by 5% and 9.7-inch fell by 6.5%. Even if the new iPad models with 12.9-inch screens had a successful launch in the third quarter of 2015, their contribution to the overall iPad shipments for the entire year would be limited since they will be on the market for less than half a year. On the whole, WitsView expects negative growth for total iPad shipments in 2015 because of insufficient marketable features and lack of tablet replacement demands.


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