Plasma Panel Sales Top Expectations Says Report

Plasma panel makers continue to report strong growth with Q3'08 plasma panel shipments rising 18 percent quarter on quarter (Q/Q) and 37 percent year on year (Y/Y) to nearly 4.2 million units.

The figures represent the second highest quarterly shipment total to date and are 6 percent higher than industry observers predicted. The data was released as part of a recent DisplaySearch report.

According to DisplaySearch's findings, demand continues to be strong for plasma TVs worldwide due to attractive price points and the increasing availability of high-definition content. The trend indicates that the 2008 shipment target of 15.5 million units will be met.

Following strong growth in the previous quarter, the proportion of 1080p plasma panel shipments remained over 20 percent, rising to a record 856,000 units in Q3'08. Panasonic remained the dominant supplier of 1080p PDPs, accounting for 70 percent of units shipped. Samsung secured the second largest market share with 15 percent of all units shipped. However the company's revenue share declined by almost two points despite having 30 percent Y/Y revenue growth. LGE was third with a 22 percent revenue share on weaker eight percent Y/Y growth. Pioneer moved up to fourth spot, as Hitachi fell to number five in the marker on a 26 percent Y/Y decline in plasma panel revenues.

Sales of 42" panels continue to be strong and this is still the most popular screen size at 49 percent of units. However, this is the first quarter where 42" shipment share was less than 50 percent. 32" continues to be an important category of growth for plasma panels, rising 20 percent Q/Q to 486,000 units and accounting for nearly 12 percent of shipments. All of the growth came from ED resolution panels which were popular in developing markets due to low pricing.

"The HD share of 32" plasma panel shipments declined, falling from 37 percent to 23 percent of units, as 32" LCD panel prices declined rapidly in Q3'08, thereby reducing the attractive pricing advantage plasma enjoyed in the 32" TV category," said Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch Director of North America TV Market Research. "In addition, aggressively lower retail prices at the end of Q3'08 for 42" and 50" HD plasma TVs are leading to a surge in demand for these models worldwide, especially in North America, and pushing overall plasma panel shipments sharply higher."