Direct LED Backlights Grow, TFT LCD is Recovering -

Direct LED Backlights Grow, TFT LCD is Recovering

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Large–area TFT LCD panel shipments declined in both Q4’11 and Q1’12, reflecting adjustments in supply chain inventories. However, with brands and OEMs increasing orders and with panel makers increasing capacity utilization, Q2’12 shipments are expected to grow by double digits. This, along with the recent panel price rebound, indicates the recovery of the TFT LCD industry.

According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED, large-area (9”+) TFT LCD shipments fell by 3% Q/Q in Q1’12 to 170.2 million. However, the report forecasts that shipments are expected to make a strong recovery in Q2’12 to 189.6 million, up 11% Q/Q and 4% Y/Y.

In Q1’12, shipments for each of the three major applications—notebook PCs, desktop monitors and TVs—showed Q/Q declines. The first quarter is traditionally a slow one for panel purchases, as downstream companies are conservative in panel purchases while making inventory adjustments. However, tablet PC panels continued to show strong momentum, with 18% Q/Q growth, driven by 9.7” shipments.

In Q2’12, the tablet PC application is expected to continue to show the strongest growth. Apple’s recent release of its new iPad with QXGA resolution has encouraged panel makers to expand shipments in Q2’12. Shipments of panels for notebook PCs and desktop monitors are expected to grow by 9% and 2% in Q2’12, respectively. TV panel shipment growth is expected to be 12%, primarily driven by increased purchases from China as well as demand from North America triggered by recent positive sell-through results.

Table 1: Large-Area TFT LCD Shipments (Millions)

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Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED

Large-area TFT LCD shipment revenues are expected to increase to $20.6 million, up 14% Q/Q, marking the first time in the past three quarters that the industry has experienced positive revenue growth.

“The TFT LCD industry has experienced unprecedented changes after a long-standing over-supply accompanied by falling panel prices. Panel makers are restructuring and adding new technologies and processes to reduce costs and enhance performance,” noted David Hsieh, Vice President, Greater China Market, NPD DisplaySearch. Continued Hsieh, “The elements are in place for 2012 to be a year of gradual recovery, as panel prices rebound and shipments increase. Shipment units, shipment area, and revenues are all expected to grow by double digits in Q2’12.”

According to the NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report, LED backlight penetration reached 59.2% of LCD TV panel shipments in Q1’12. According to the plans of panel makers, this figure will reach 60% in Q2’12 and 70% in Q4’12. These targets account for scenarios in which panel makers ship the cell and open cell only, and downstream companies assemble the backlight unit together with the module. Many panel makers and LCD TV set makers have developed a lower-cost, direct-type LED backlight, targeted at at the market segment that prioritizes panel cost over thickness. NPD DisplaySearch estimates that direct-type LED backlit panels will grow to 17% of all LCD TV panel shipments in Q4’12.

Table 2: LCD TV Panel Shipment Share by Backlight Type

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Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report – Advanced LED

The DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report covers the entire range of large-area panels shipped worldwide and regionally. The report analyzes historical shipments and forecast projections with 100% coverage of panel makers. Authored by industry experts, the report provides some of the industry’s most detailed information and insights. It is delivered in PowerPoint and includes Excel data tables. For more information on this report, please contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, or, or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan.

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