Top TV Brands Increase Orders from Captive Panel Suppliers

As TV panel shortages continue into 2017, top TV brands are currently reviewing plans to source yet more panels from their captive panel suppliers this year, according to IHS Markit

The world’s top TV makers — Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, TCL and Sharp — are forecast to sharply increase panel orders from their respective panel suppliers, Samsung Display, LG Display, China Star and Sharp (Foxconn) to 41% of all total orders in 2017 from 34% in 2016.

Increasing orders from the same captive supplier marks a different strategy from the previous two years, when top-tier brands such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics diversified their panel suppliers by sourcing orders from Chinese and Taiwanese panel makers, in part to become more cost competitive. In early 2016, they had planned to further lower panel orders from their main panel suppliers, but ongoing panel shortages had forced a rethink in their sourcing strategy.

“2016 was a very challenging year for TV makers due to panel supply shortages and the unexpected hike in panel prices, which eroded TV makers’ profit margins,” said Deborah Yang, director of display supply chain at IHS Markit. “Moving into 2017, there is still a concern that constraints in panel supply will continue, and this makes TV makers feel insecure about the stability of future supply.” A recent decision made by Foxconn, which acquired Sharp in 2016, to stop supplying panels to Samsung Electronics in 2017 also fuelled the concern, Yang said.

According to the latest IHS Markit TV Display Intelligence Service report, Sharp is expected to increase its orders the most from its captive panel supplier among all other TV makers from 36% in 2016 to 93% in 2017. Similarly, Samsung Electronics is also forecast to expand its panel purchases from its main supplier, Samsung Display, from 32% in 2016 to 39% in 2017, but the increase in orders could be constrained due to the panel maker’s planned cut in its TV panel capacity in 2017.

“Being able to secure a competitive panel supply base will be TV makers’ top priority in 2017,” Yang said. “Increasing supplies from captive panel suppliers will be a critical tactic although having multiple sources will be also an important strategy to win in a competitive and cost-sensitive market.”