Display manufacturers have not had much reason to be happy over the last few years, with decreasing panel sales and lower prices, it has seemed hard to make any kind of profit. Lately the situation has changed a little, with some manufacturers already announcing plans to add capacity in coming years. While some of this capacity is geared towards OLED manufacturing, there are also talks of adding LCD panel capacity, which is a much more positive outlook for the display industry.
The numbers show a significant increase in large panel TFT LCD shipments for 2014. The overall trend sees continued decreases in the netbook PC and monitor segments, while all other segments show some growth. The interesting part is the predicted 5% growth in the TV segment. With larger TV panels growing again, the overall sold area is growing faster than the shipment data suggests. Larger panels are also generating more revenue, which will hopefully translate into some better financial results for the display industry. DisplaySearch sees LCD TV panel shipments increase from 97 million m² in 2013 to 112 million m² in 2014, a 15% increase in area, compared to the 5% increase in unit shipments. With increasing panel area, the over capacity situation may turn around into a higher demand cycle, something the panel makers have been hoping for, for years.
One key aspect that the DisplaySearch report also addresses is the increase in 4K/UHD panel shipments. According to the numbers, LG was number one in October 2014 in UHD panel sales with a 28.1% market share of the global market, followed by Innolux (24%) and Samsung (20.2%). The report shows that the UHD panel shipments in October reached 2.05 million globally, or as DisplaySearch puts it, “making LCD TVs still very much the standard in the (UHD) market”. LG seems to be investing in OLED panel manufacturing, which the company sees as the standard for panel manufacturing in coming years. – Norbert Hildebrand