Annual Plasma Shipments Rise; Q1 Shipment Prices Drop

For the first three months of 2006, worldwide plasma shipments climbed an estimated 87 percent year-to-year (Y/Y) while falling 26 percent quarter-to-quarter (Q/Q), to about 1.7 million units. DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based research firm, which conducts the quarterly survey, blames the Q/Q decline on "traditional seasonal weakness coupled with new model transitions and supply constraints."

Plasma units remained dominant over other TV technologies in the 40- to 44-inch category with a market share of 65 percent, (down from 68 percent in Q4 of 2005), and gained share at the 50- to 54-inch level, rising from 29 to 33 percent in Q1 2006.

With plasma supplies tight and larger sizes (at higher resolutions) gaining share, DisplaySearch said blended HD and SD plasma prices fell about 25 percent Y/Y to an average of $2,353. North America, China and the rest of world gained plasma share, the company concludes, at the expense of Europe and Japan. Quarterly, plasma unit prices (42-inch models) fell 37 percent in Q1 Y/Y.

In a June 5 report, DisplaySearch data revealed the average selling price for 40-inch 720p LCD units declined about 20 percent Y/Y.

The firm said prices are expected to fall faster on a sequential basis in most HD categories as retailers begin seeking space for new 2006 models, as well as increased competition in large flat-panel categories, which led one major undisclosed brand to cut prices twice in one week.