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Plasma Panel Shipments Growth Slows
Oct 30, 2006
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Shipments of plasma panels, the panels found in plasma TVs and public displays, rose 17 percent quarter-on-quarter and 47 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2006, to a record 2.8 million units. The shipment numbers were reported today by market research firm DisplaySearch in its Quarterly PDP Module and TV Shipment and Forecast Report. The report said plasma panel revenues also earned a record high in the quarter, up 10 percent quarter-on-quarter and 29 percent year-on-year to $2.02 billion, the first time plasma revenues exceeded $2 billion. Plasma panel average selling prices (ASPs) were down 6 percent quarter-on-quarter and 12 percent year-on-year to $724.

Despite record results and seemingly healthy growth, the quarter's growth was significantly slower than any other quarter to-date, according to the research firm, with year-on-year growth over the past 12 quarters ranging between 73 percent and 170 percent.

Plasma panel suppliers are said to be expecting even slower growth in the fourth quarter of 2006 - up 20 percent year-on-year to 3.2 million units. DisplaySearch said that, assuming plasma panel suppliers hit their fourth quarter targets, 2006 panel shipments will rise 49 percent year-on-year in 2006 to 10.7M million units, which is less than half the growth of previous years.

Slower plasma panel unit growth is attributed to:

  • Slower capacity growth of just 46 percent in 2006 compared with 92 percent in 2004 and 66 percent in 2005.
  • Migration to larger sizes, which reduces the number of panels that can be produced per substrate. The 50-inch-plus share of worldwide plasma panel shipments has doubled from 12 percent in the third quarter last year to 24 percent this quarter.
  • Tighter supply due to the slower capacity growth, which reduced pricing pressure and impacted demand.
  • Increased competition from LCD TVs below 50 inches. 40-inch to 47-inch LCD TV panel shipments rose 560 percent from the third quarter last year to the third quarter this year, to 2.4 million units, taking significant share from plasma as 720p prices approach parity; 1080p LCDs offer increased differentiation.

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