Panel Pricing Falls Slightly in February

Average monitor panel prices fell about 1% in February, says DisplaySearch, with rising amounts of G8, G6 and G5 capacity being released for notebooks and tablets. Panel inventory build-up is currently a low risk, as most panel makers will not push production during the five-day Lunar New Year period.

Notebook panel demand is falling, but inventories still exist. Panel makers are thought to have produced too much stock in the final months of last year. Notebook brands are investigating how much of a price drop panel makers will accept, to provide more room for promotions in the near future. Due to this, notebook panel prices were down between 1% and 2% in February, with an average fall of $1; however, some sizes could decline more.

Results from the TV market are more mixed, although TV vendors are still asking panel makers to lower prices, due to profitability pressures that the vendors are facing. Vendors have had to raise prices or absorb losses, due to a fall in currency values. The supply of some sizes is balanced, due to global top-tier brands and some Chinese vendors still demanding panels to meet Q1’15 forecasts. Panel prices remain flat; however, 32″, 55″ and UltraHD units are becoming more scarce for some vendors. These companies are asking for concessions on higher-priced models to compensate.

Due to the Lunar New Year, smartphone demand continued to be weak in February. Display ASPs remained stable. However, smartphone demand is expected to climb again in March; bulk orders will push ASPs down.

Finally, tablet demand also slowed in February. Production of new models and designs has been lower this year, with pressure from phablets pushing panel prices down. An increasing number of Chinese module companies are producing lower-quality and lower-cost solutions for branded customers seeking to compete with white-box brands.