Plasma: Record Sales in All Regions, Despite Share Decline

In the plasma category, worldwide HD/ED shipments rose 44 percent from quarter-to-quarter and 109 percent year-to-year in 2005 to a record 2.27 million units, according to DisplaySearch. It said shipments "exceeded expectations" by slightly more than 10 percent as PDP module suppliers stretched their capacity to meet demand in the holiday season-dominated Q4.

However, plasma unit sales actually lost overall flat-panel market share compared with the previous Q3 of 2005 because of surging LCD sales in the 40- to 44-inch range, and 50- to 54-inch microdisplay RPTVs. In 2005 overall, plasma sales rose more than 100 percent to nearly 6 million units.

Regionally, record results were achieved in all sectors. North American plasma shipments rose 85 percent year-to-year, but still fell from 30 to 28 percent of the global plasma market in 2005. 42- to 43-inch HD plasma sets maintained the highest share of the North American plasma market -- although total HD plasma share fell slightly to 65 percent as "price-sensitive holiday demand" boosted the 42-inch ED market, according to DisplaySearch.

North America was also the only region where plasma gained share in the popular 40- to 44-inch screen range in the final quarter of 2005.