LCD, Plasma Shipments Hold Up in Tough Economy

The global economy may be sailing through some choppy waters these days with uncertainty being the persistent theme. But shipments of HD sets to dealers appear to be holding their own, although sales of smaller sized screens are growing, in order to accommodate a preference for lower prices.

While shipments do not always reflect actual sales activity at the retail level, they usually provide a generally reliable barometer of supply and demand. And according to DisplaySearch’s most recent survey of LCD shipments ending in the first quarter, panel shipments grew 69 percent compared to last year, to just over 25 million units worldwide.

At the same time, those numbers also represent an expected seasonal decline of 11 percent from the traditional active final quarter of the previous year (which includes the holiday season) to Q1 2008.

Also, according to DisplaySearch, 1080p continues its strong market penetration and is expanding to smaller panel sizes, reaching nearly 24 percent of all LCD TV shipments in the first quarter. For 40-inch sets and larger, the 1080p share was nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all LCD units sold in the first quarter (unchanged from Q4 2007). And 1080p shipments of 32-inch units were the most impressive of all—with shipments of more than 500,000 in the United States in the first quarter.

As for plasma HD, after record-setting shipments in the last quarter of 2007, plasma units fell 19 percent in Q1 2008 “on normal seasonal weakness,” said DisplaySearch. However, quarterly orders for plasma units were up 53 percent on a year-to-year basis.