Despite Record Numbers, Plasma Panel Shipments Slowing

DisplaySearch reports plasma panel shipments rose 17 percent in the third quarter over the previous one, and 47 percent year-to-year, to a record 2.8 million panel units. (The stats take into account panels used for consumer sets and public displays.)

Revenues for plasma panels rose 10 percent in Q3 over the previous quarter and nearly 30 percent year-to-year to a record $2.02 billion (exceeding $2 billion for the first time).

Even with record results and seemingly healthy growth, the Q3 growth was "significantly slower" than any other quarter to date, DisplaySearch said, with year-to-year growth over the past 3 years usually ranging between 73-170 percent.

Plasma panel suppliers are expecting even slower growth in Q4, probably in the range of perhaps 20 percent year-to-year. Slower plasma panel shipments to factories can be partially explained by consumer migration to larger panel sizes--which reduces the number of panels cut from each substrate--and increased competition from LCD sets smaller than 50 inches.