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LCD Q1 Monitor Shipments Drop

Austin, Texas — Worldwide flat-panel computer monitor unit shipments fell further than expected during the first quarter, but widescreen models fought the trend and grew a substantial 61 percent, compared with the previous quarter, according to the research organization DisplaySearch.

DisplaySearch’s Quarterly Desktop Monitor Shipment and Forecast Report described the first-quarter 8.1 percent falloff as “seasonal” in nature, adding that it had a tough act to follow as the fourth quarter of 2005 set unit shipment records. Compounding the issue is the fact that the LCD category is transitioning from 4:3 aspect ratio screens to widescreen.

“The Q1 slowdown is not unusual since historical analysis reveals that major platform transitions, such as the industry is experiencing now, usually do not occur until seasonally strong buying periods such as Q3 and Q4. The transition to wide is forecasted to spike then, with all key indicators pointing in that direction and with the growth seen in wide in this quarter,” said Chris Connery, market research VP for DisplaySearch.

The company said 28.9 million LCD monitors shipped during the first quarter worldwide. Penetration rates continued to climb with North America at 86.5, up from 76 percent during the second quarter of 2005. The European/Middle East/Africa region was close behind at 84.5 percent, but Japan still leads the way with an almost total market penetration rate of 99.3 percent.

Widescreen models now comprise 4.5 percent of the monitor market, up from about 1 percent during the first quarter in 2005. The 19W-inch size enjoyed the greatest success with shipments jumping 213 percent over the previous quarter. The category did not even exist during the first quarter of 2005.

DisplaySearch’s top five monitor shippers — Dell, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Acer and LG — collectively lost about 8 percent of the industry’s market share, with only Samsung increasing its quarter-over-quarter share, which was up 11 percent. Samsung jump was based primarily on growth in Asia and Latin America.

DisplaySearch is a member of The NPD Group.