Weak Demand Causes Panel Price Fall in March

IHS DisplaySearch has released its panel price data for March. Downward trends were seen in almost every market segment.

Weak demand meant that monitor panel prices continued to fall. Vendors still have inventories, so panel makers are finding sell-out a challenge and are offering many incentives and deals.

Due to slow demand for notebook and tablet PCs, G5, G6 and G8 fab capacities have been released. Demand is expected to remain weak in Q2, so DisplaySearch expects more capacity to be released from these fabs, and panel prices to trend downwards.

As with monitors, notebook panel prices fell due to weak demand. Inventories have not yet been used up, and notebook brands have built high panel inventories. The average notebook panel price will trend downwards by $0.5 – $1 in March. Some notebook vendors do not want to purchase too many panels and pile up inventories; they are agreeing to price reductions of $0.5 – $0.6. However, some brands are considering retaining high inventories and asking for very low prices, as they consider there to be a risk of low supply in Q3 due to component supply issues.

There were signs of a shift in TV panel bargaining power in February; in March, price pressure on some sizes (32″, 55″ and 65″) and UltraHD panels is increasing. Some panel makers agree that it is ‘almost’ time to lower prices (‘within a reasonable range’) to help TV makers to promote new products. However, there has not been a clear sign that any panel maker is actually willing to make price concessions.

DisplaySearch sees increasing concerns about mixed trends in panel supply/demand, which could lead to different pricing scenarios in Q2. Aside from a few Korean brands, most TV makers do not plan to increase panel purchases at this time. Instead, purchasing is expected to remain flat or fall slightly QoQ, as they are concerned about the downward price trend and the risk of demand adjustments in the market.