El Segundo, Calif. — The market for large-sized liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels is set for a seasonal drop in the first quarter after record shipments for TV and tablet panels in December, according to a new report from IHS Technology (NYSE: IHS). Despite record shipments, overall December shipments rose slightly from 81.6 million in November to 82.4 million units in December, but grew seven percent compared to year-ago levels.
Global LCD panel shipments are forecast to decline to an estimated 222.0 million units in the first quarter of 2014, down nine percent from 244.4 million at the end of the fourth quarter 2013, according to the IHS report. This is considered to be normal for this time of year. IHS' latest shipment projections for the first three months of 2014 indicate volume growth will be larger than the first or second quarter of 2013.
“After completion of the pre-stocking and rush orders in the fourth quarter, market demand for LCD panels will not be as strong in January, which will affect overall volume for the first quarter,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS, in a statement.
Due to fewer working days in China at the end of January during the Lunar New Year, panel shipments will be impacted until February, including panels for TVs, monitors, notebooks, and tablets, Park added.
Both the TV and tablet panel segments showed exceptional growth in December, according to IHS. The notebook panel market also posted strong shipments, while the monitor panel market continued to shrink.
Shipments of TV panels in December reached 20.2 million units, the first time since May that volume exceeded 20.0 million units, thanks to solid year-end promotions by TV brands, said IHS. One of the biggest growth drivers was the 50-inch-and-above sized panels, which grew its share from 10 percent in the third quarter to 14 percent in the fourth quarter.
New TV panel sizes were also introduced including the 39.5-inch TV panel from Innolux, and 48-inch panels from Chinese makers BOE and CSOT. LG Display also introduced a 49-inch panel.
There was no surprise that the tablet panel market saw good growth. Global shipments of tablets reached 76.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 20 percent from 64 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. Android held a 62 percent market share, while iOS held a 34 percent share in the fourth quarter.
December shipments of tablet panels reached 31.1 million units, up 43 percent from the same time a year ago. Japan’s Sharp saw the largest growth thanks to orders from Apple for its 7.9-inch iPad mini tablet, said IHS.
Notebook panel vendors -- Innolux, AUO, LG Display and Samsung -- all benefited from Hewlett-Packard orders, said IHS. Notebook panel shipments reached 16.7 million units in December, up four percent from November.
The only market that didn't grow was the monitor segment. Monitor panel shipments dropped to 13.7 million units, down almost two percent from the previous month, and down eight percent from a year ago in December 2012.