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Panasonic Leads Global PDP Market

Austin, Texas — Panasonic continues to lead all brands in worldwide unit and revenue market share for the plasma TV category, according to a fourth quarter 2005 market report issued by DisplaySearch.

The market researcher, which is part of The NPD Group, tracked 33 different plasma TV brands, as well as sub-brands worldwide in its fourth-quarter 2005 plasma TV report, which is now available from the firm.

The report lists Panasonic with 26 percent worldwide plasma TV market share and holding the No. 1 position in Japan, China and North America. However, the report said the brand slipped to No. 2 behind Philips in Europe.

Despite the achievement, DisplaySearch said supply constraints caused Panasonic to lose share to the Nos. 2-6 suppliers in the fourth quarter. By size and resolution, it remained No. 1 in 42-inch HD and 50-inch HD, but fell behind LGE in 42-inch EDTV models. It was also No. 1 in 37-inch ED and HD and in the 60-inch plus screen sizes, the report said.

Other top five suppliers according to rank in the quarter included the following: No. 2 LG (15.4 percent share), No. 3 Samsung (13.7 percent), No. 4 Philips (13.3 percent) and No. 5 Hitachi (7.3 percent).

Worldwide plasma TV shipments rose 44 percent quarter to quarter and 109 percent year to year in the fourth quarter of 2005 to reach a record 2.27 million units, the firm said.

Shipments exceeded expectations by 11 percent as PDP module suppliers stretched capacity to meet demand in the period. Despite stretching their capacity and exceeding expectations, plasma TVs actually lost share relative to the third quarter of 2005 in the 40-inch to 44-inch segment to LCD TVs, which enjoyed an over 300 percent quarter to quarter growth rate, and to microdisplay rear-projection TVs in the 50-inch to 54-inch segment.

DisplaySearch attributed to slippage to supply constraints. For the year, plasma TVs rose 109 percent to 5.9 million units.

Despite tight supply, worldwide plasma TV prices continued to fall, dropping 9 percent quarter-to-quarter and 32 percent year-to-year to an average $2,296. This was attributed to growing competition from other technologies. However, rapid unit growth offset lower prices resulting in a 31 percent quarter to quarter and 41 percent year-to-year increase in revenues to $5.2 billion.

In North America, plasma TV shipments rose 35 percent quarter-to-quarter and 85 percent year-to-year, but still lost share falling from 30 percent to 28 percent of the global plasma TV market, DisplaySearch said. The 42-inch to 43-inch HD plasma segment maintained the highest share of the North American plasma TV market although the total HD share fell from 66 percent, 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 PDPs gained share at 40 inches to 44 inches in the fourth quarter of 2005.