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Plasma Shipments, Revenues Going Downhill

If you think you've been noticing far fewer plasma displays on store shelves in recent months, your eyes do not deceive you. As global demand remains weak (due in large part to poor economic conditions), plasma panel shipments to retailers fell for the second straight quarter, according to DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based consultancy.

Perhaps riding against conventional wisdom, plasma shipments for HD sets actually posted "strong growth during most of 2008," DisplaySearch said, but began declining in late 2008 (a crucial period for both makers and retailers encompassing the holiday sales season). Shipments fell 28 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009—to less than 2.8 million units globally.

DisplaySearch notes that some major brands (notably Vizio and Pioneer) also withdrew from the plasma business altogether in the most recent quarter. And the researcher said "as bad as plasma unit shipments were in Q1 2009 relative to a year ago, plasma panel revenues were even worse, declining 36 percent year-to-year."