Santa Clara, Calif. - A recent
study found plasma panel shipments grew every quarter, year over year, during 2010.
In fact, the market research firm said further growth "seems to be supply-limited."
"This is a surprising result, as weak economic conditions resulted in several plasma players exiting the plasma TV business in 2009, and plasma faced a renewed threat from LCD TVs with the improvements from LED backlights narrowing the performance gap with plasma," the DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report stated.
The firm said the aggressive rollout of LED-backlit LCD TVs caused a significant slowdown in the decline in LCD TV average prices, and with the increased importance of value in many markets, plasma TV was very competitive with LCD in greater-than-40-inch market segments.
Fourth-quarter 2010 plasma TV panel shipments grew 1 percent quarter over quarter and 9 percent year over year to 5.2 million units. Major plasma makers operated at maximum capacity, and one new entrant -- COC -- started mass production of 42-inch panels in China in Q4 2010, DisplaySearch said.
Plasma TVs were well-suited for consumers' purchasing habits in 2010, providing the most affordable large flat-panel TVs for many consumers, DisplaySearch observed.
Plasma Panel Unit Share & Growth by Supplier (2009-2010)
In addition, the strong industry push for 3D TV helped, as some reviewers and consumers concluded that plasma TV had superior 3D performance compared to LCD TV, especially in the area of reduced flicker.
"While 3D has not played a big role in the growth of plasma shipments, it has helped to support plasma TV in the competition with LCD TV," stated Ken Park, DisplaySearch Korea TV market research senior analyst. "With 3D functionality, plasma can reposition itself as a lasting technology in the TV industry. In fact, plasma TV brands are entering 2011 with 3D across their product portfolios, from 42-inch HD to 152-inch."
The top plasma TV panel suppliers in 2010 on a unit basis were Panasonic, which grew 22 percent year over year; Samsung SDI, which grew 37 percent year over year; and LGE, which grew 30 percent year over year.
Additional findings in the report said that plasma TV panel shipments, which were in decline at 15.1 million units in 2008, jumped to 19.1 million in 2010 from 14.8 million the year before.
The share of plasma TV panel shipments 50 inches and larger reached 40.8 percent in 2010, up from 38 percent in 2009, as plasma TV panel makers exited the 32-inch market due to low LCD prices, while the 42-inch market has narrow profit margins, leading plasma TV brands to focus on the 50-inch and larger market where they remain more competitively priced than LCD.
DisplaySearch said the share of 1080p plasma TV panel shipments barely increased in 2010, due to consumer price sensitivity.
As a result, Samsung introduced a 50-inch 720p 3D plasma TV for the first time in the second half of the year.
For more on acquiring the report, contact Charles Camaroto at (888) 436-7673 or (516) 625-2452, or email