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Large-area TFT LCD shipments expected to fall 6 percent this year

Shipments of large-area TFT LCD panels — the kind used to make everything from HD televisions to media tablets — are expected this year to drop for the first time year-over-year (Y/Y), down about 44 million panels worldwide from last year’s level, according to a new report from NPD DisplaySearch.

The report, “Quarterly Large Area TFT Panel Shipment Report,” forecasts some 710 million LCD panels — 9in or bigger — will be shipped in 2013, a decline of 6 percent from the 754 million shipped in 2012.

Large declines are projected for computer monitor and notebook panel shipments, both down 13 percent Y/Y. Panels used for mini-note PCs will drop 66 percent Y/Y. The report notes that tablet PC panel ships will grow, but at a year-over-year rate of just 4 percent, compared to 61 percent last year.

Shipments of panels used to manufacture LCD TVs will grow at a slower rate, up 6 percent compared to 10 percent last year, NPD DisplaySearch says.

“Changes in demand mean that the conventional PC market is facing a decline, while the tablet PC market remains strong and the LCD TV market grows. The Chinese marketplace continues to set global trends and holds a great deal of influence over panel makers’ size strategy, product roadmaps and shipment plans,” says David Hsieh, NPD DisplaySearch VP of Greater China.

Lagging demand for notebook and desktop monitor panels will prompt TFT LCD makers to shift capacity and allocation to LCD TVs. Taking advantage of new technologies and product specifications, including 4K x 2K, super-slim bezels, high-transmittance open cell, high resolution, IPS/FFS, ultraslim, light weight, high color gamut, and the integration of up-scaling circuitry, touch, and mechanical parts, will be the focus of panel makers, NPD DisplaySearch adds.

According to the display industry authority, the challenge facing panel makers remains absorbing excess inventory from last year while attempting to increase shipments in 2013.