IHS has released its PriceWise data, which contains an analysis of LCD panel prices in March and April.
The earthquake in Taiwan this February (Earthquake Rocks Taiwan Production Base) continues to affect the supply chain. Low production yields for new panels – especially for Korean panel makers, which have adopted thinner glass and new technologies – are also have an impact. The end result is trouble for TV makers, and a shift in market sentiment regarding supply/demand in late March.
Slow market demand is still a concern, but TV makers’ panel purchasing attitudes and strategies are directly influencing supply and demand. Leading international and Chinese TV brands plan to increase their panel purchasing in Q2, and are asking panel makers to ship their products by air to reduce lead times.
Panel makers increased prices on 32″ and 40″ – 43″ panels in April by a modest amount. They also stopped offering price rebates on larger models, such as 48″ – 49″ and 55″ units. Prices were largely unchanged from the month before.
Demand for 55″ and 65″ panels increased in April, following several months of sharp price declines. This was largely due to Chinese makers preparing for the early May holiday sales. Heavy promotions are expected in China throughout May, which will clear inventory and drive large-screen demand.
Most second- and third-tier monitors makers were required to pay more for 21.5″ TN panels in March, due to a supply shortage. Both Korean panel makers stopped producing these products, and there was a price hike on 32″ TV panels (2-4%). As a result, panel makers increased prices of 19.5″ and 21.5″ panels for low-tier makers, while continuing to lower prices for tier ones (although mildly). Low-tier customers had to agree to an increase of $1 or more for 21.5″ TN panels. TV panel prices are increasing, and so panel makers are moving away from non-profitable monitor models.
IHS forecasts a halt in price reductions for sub-23″ monitor panels in May. However, products larger than 23″ will continue to face downward price pressure: they may fall by $0.5 – $1, depending on their size.
PC brands continued to seek lower prices, even on bundle deals, in March. These deals have already been completed to secure volumes, or receive volumes at short notice.
Most panel makers have lowered production of HD TN eDP panels, due to significant losses made on these units. 15.6″ HD TN LVDS models, for example, reached end-of-life in 2015, although a few were available in the end market. Chinese second- and third-tier makers asked for $27 – $30+ prices for this model.
IHS expects prices for mainstream panels to remain flat through May and June, due to the reduction in HD TN panel supply. Capacity will instead be shifted to monitor, mobile or automotive applications, or 7″ cell glass.