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DisplaySearch Sees Flat-Panel Maturity

Austin, Texas— Shipments of panels used in flat-panel TV sets (LCD and plasma) are likely to continue to slow down beyond the current economic crisis as the HDTV market begins to mature, DisplaySearch warned Wednesday in its latest Quarterly Worldwide FPD Forecast Report.

“Concerns over contracting consumer demand over the near term may grab headlines today, but slower growth may be a long-term trend in the flat-panel market,” stated David Barnes, DisplaySearch strategic analysis VP.

From 2001 through 2008, flat-panel display shipments grew at a compound annual rate of 10 percent. From 2008 to 2015, the compound annual growth forecast is 4 percent due to market maturity, as flat-panel displays have captured most of the market previously served by cathode-ray tubes (CRT), the report indicates.

The report points out that more than 80 percent of all TV sets will use flat panels by 2011.

As shown in Table 1 (below), older technologies such as vacuum fluorescent and cathode-ray tube displays have experienced decreasing demand as newer technologies became cost competitive.

Total display shipments (including all display technologies) grew at a slower compound annual rate of 8 percent from 2001 through 2008.

DisplaySearch said it expects OLED display and electrophoretic display (EPD) shipments to grow at compound annual rates of 20 percent and 15 percent, respectively, over the next seven years.

Demand for high-temperature poly-silicon (HTPS) LCDs, used in digital cameras and projectors, may also grow at a double-digit rate.

The primary active-matrix (AMLCD) technology based on TFT glass backplanes is forecast to see 8 percent compound annual growth.

“While this would be slower than the 48 percent compound annual growth estimated for the prior seven years, the AMLCD market may exceed $95 billion in sales this year,” Barnes said. “Any market that large approaches constraints as it matures.”

DisplaySearch, however, said unit demand growth from emerging applications will show growth going forward.

“While less than 40 thousand OLED units for TV applications may ship this year, DisplaySearch foresees potential for 126 percent compound annual growth in OLED TV panel demand over the next seven years,” Barnes said. “In addition, expectations for demand growth from mini-note PC applications remains high as consumers around the world are embracing smaller, lower-cost notebooks.”

Table 1: Leading Display Technologies by Shipment Growth, 2008-2015

Table 2: Five Leading FPD Applications by Shipment Growth, 2008-2015