Large-area TFT LCD display panel suppliers enjoyed moderate growth in shipments, revenue and display area in 2014 as the market demand for key applications grew. Year-over-year shipments of 9-inch and larger panels increased 4 percent (721 million units), while overall display shipment area grew 13 percent, according to the latest Quarterly Large-Area TFT Panel Shipment Report from IHS (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source for critical information and insight. Overall large-area TFT LCD display revenues grew 2 percent, reaching $74.4 billion in 2014.
“The double-digit increase in large-area TFT LCD panel area last year was mainly driven by increasing consumer demand for larger televisions, 4K TVs and high-end monitors,” said Yoonsung Chung, director of large area display research for IHS Technology, formerly DisplaySearch. “The notebook PC market rebound, which began in the second quarter of 2014, also aided large-area display growth.”
Overall shipment area of 40-inch-and-larger panel sizes increased 34 percent in 2014, compared to the previous year. Year-over-year notebook PC display unit shipments increased 8 percent, and revenues grew 16 percent; however, 9-inch-and-larger tablet LCD panels suffered from weaker demand, which slowed year-over-year unit growth to 1 percent and caused revenues to decline 6 percent.
Panel makers are projecting similar TFT LCD shipment trends in 2015, with overall large-area display shipments expected to grow just 1 percent and reach 729.5 million units. Revenue growth and area growth for this category, however, are forecast to reach 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Total LCD TV panel shipments are expected to increase 3 percent in 2015, to reach 260.5 million units; shipment area will grow 8 percent, from 113 million square meters last year, to 123 million square meters in 2015. The importance of 4K in the TV market will continue in 2015, reaching more than 40 million units, comprising 15 percent of total LCD TV unit shipments, and more than doubling the 7 percent market penetration in 2014.
Growth in notebook PC and mini-note panel shipments will be flat in 2015, reaching just 198 million units. "Lackluster sales are forcing panel makers to begin upgrading to FHD and other high resolution formats, and to adopt flat light guide plates in the backlight for ultra-slim panels, in hopes of raising profit margins," Chung said.
IHS forecasts that 9-inch-and-larger TFT LCD tablet PC panel shipments will decline 11 percent in 2015 versus the previous year. The primary cause of this decline is that Samsung has started to adapt OLED panels for tablet PCs, which will negatively influence the overall TFT LCD market this year.
LCD monitor panel shipments are expected to grow 8 percent in 2015, to reach 168 million units. “Due to larger sizes, technology improvements and low depreciation in old fabs, the profit margin for monitor panels was solid last year, which is leading panel makers to plan more monitor shipments this year,” Chung said.
Year-over-year public display unit shipments grew 44 percent in 2014, with the retreat of plasma display panels (PDPs) and stronger momentum for the digital signage category. IHS expects public display unit shipments to increase 7 percent in 2015.