LCD TVs Grow to Record High in March

LCD TV shipments reached a record monthly high in March, despite several factors curbing market growth. According to IHS, inventory adjustments caused TV brands to lower their panel orders in Q1. However, a strong push for TV brands to fulfil their panel facilitation plans – combined with a cross-marketing push by panel makers – meant that global shipments rose 20% MoM and 11% YoY, to 23.9 million units.

Q1 suffered from a seasonal fall in shipments, due to the Chinese New Year (most LCD TV modules are made in China). Meanwhile, the balance is shifting between LCD TV supply and demand, from tightness to oversupply. Because of this, TV makers have begun to reduce orders, especially for older models. Positive YoY growth is still expected for Q1, though, especially since March shipments rebounded so strongly.

Leading TV brands are preparing to launch new models, so – despite signs of a slow-down in panel demand – orders have not fallen. Panel makers are aggressively introducing and promoting UltraHD, wide colour gamut, ultra-slim bezels and other new features, to improve shipment growth.

Total LCD TV panel shipments reached 253 million units last year. This year, panel makers are targeting 261 million. There may be some challenges in the months ahead, though; IHS expects demand to slow beginning in Q2. Panel prices are already starting to fall.

There were significant differences in demand for different sizes in March. 23.6″ panels hit a new record (2.1 million units), as did 40″ (3.3 million), 43″ (1.2 million), 49″ (0.9 million) and 65″ (0.4 million).

UltraHD LCD TV panels rose from 1.7 million in February to another new record of 2.6 million unit shipments in March – led by LG Display and Samsung Display. Adoption of the RGBW architecture is expected to grow quickly this year, as acceptance has extended from China to the global market.