Panel Makers Prepare for Back-to-School Demand

IHS DisplaySearch has shared its latest panel pricing data from the PriceWise service, covering late Q1/early Q2.

Brands purchased fewer notebook panels in early Q2, due to inventory digestion and European currency issues. Demand will rise again once inventory is cleared. IT brands are preparing aggressively for back-to-school demand in Q3.

Notebook panel makers are under pressure to lower prices. Some vendors are shifting capacity to automotive, industrial and smartphone applications. However, there is still excess supply and so prices are still under pressure. DisplaySearch expects prices to fall $0.60 – $1.

Smartphone demand is weak, so panel makers have moved some capacity to large-area applications – although the impact on supply/demand has so far been minimal. Smartphone display ASPs continue to be lowered by panel maker promotions, with the bidding price for 5″ 1280 x 720 units (with touch and cover glass) falling to record lows. Demand/supply is much better for high-end displays like embedded touch units. Therefore, ASP erosion has been lower than normal for smartphone displays.

Tablet PC demand continues to rise in Q2, mainly due to production for educational or governmental purposes in the emerging markets. While iPad and white-box shipments remain low, a few brands have managed to stimulate demand with aggressive promotions; however, overall demand is still weak.