Forecast Revised Down for Flat Panel Displays in Commercial, Public Display Settings

Sort Date: 08062012

SANTA CLARA, CALIF, August 6, 2012—The global market for public displays remains strong, but in recent quarters, flat panel display manufacturers have emphasized revenue and profit over volume, thus lowering the overall unit shipment outlook for this category. As production of plasma displays continues to wind down, LCD-based commercial displays have yet to fully fill the void. With reduced production of plasma, the public display market fell 13% Y/Y. However, LCD public display shipments were up 23% Y/Y according to the recently released NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report.

Forecasts still show strong growth, with the market set to push near 12 million units sold in 2018, an increase from just under 3 million units in 2011. Growth will be driven by new applications for public displays such as digital signage, interactive white boards, video walls, electronic menu boards, as well as the global trend toward urbanization in developing countries seen most visibly in China.

Figure 1: Worldwide LCD Commercial Public Display Shipments and Forecast

Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report

The advantage that plasma once had over LCD—larger displays for less money—has been disappearing over the years. Today, vendors such as Sharp are able to produce 60” and larger LCDs at less cost. Plasma had been able to capture some of the lower-end demand for public displays with that demand also being fulfilled by lower-priced consumer-TV displays. Leading vendors of commercial public displays, such as Samsung and NEC, are now focusing on 40” and larger sizes, conceding that the demand for medium-sized (26” to 39”) digital signage can be fulfilled by TV-grade products

In recent years, LCD manufacturers have been better able to differentiate their larger size displays (40” and larger) from similarly-sized consumer TV products with technologies such as thinner bezels, which allow for better video wall installations. Backlight technologies, such as LED, also offer unique solutions, allowing for not only thin displays, but also for higher brightness, which is needed by many commercial applications to perform in various ambient light conditions.

“This focus on higher-margin, larger-size displays is welcoming news—not just for display brands but for their global integrators alike. With a focus on technologies that have relevance to specific end-market needs, other players in the digital signage ecosystem also benefit by avoiding price comparisons against commoditized TVs,” noted Chris Connery, NPD DisplaySearch Vice President of PC and Large Format Commercial Displays.

While the use of TVs in commercial environments is not always apparent, NPD DisplaySearch’s sell-through research with top commercial distributors and resellers indicates vendors that offer hybrid products that are a mix of commercial displays and consumer TVs. Detailed US commercial sell-through data shows that hybrid displays grew 85% Y/Y in Q1’12, outpacing pure commercial displays at only 5% Y/Y.

Connery added, “While the total market size for public displays is not shrinking, more displays now fall into different categories, which can be documented in new ways, such as when consumer TVs are used for commercial applications.”

Figure 2: US Distributor & Reseller Sell-Through of Large-Format Commercial (26”+) LCDs by Category

Source: NPD DisplaySearch Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report

The NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report analyzes historical shipments, revenues, and forecast projections to provide an accurate, detailed view of the public display market. For more information, contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, e-mail contact@displaysearch.com, or contact your regional NPD DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan for more information.

About NPD DisplaySearch
Since 1996, NPD DisplaySearch has been recognized as a leading global market research and consulting firm specializing in the display supply chain, as well as the emerging photovoltaic/solar cell industries. NPD DisplaySearch provides trend information, forecasts and analyses developed by a global team of experienced analysts with extensive industry knowledge. In collaboration with The NPD Group, its parent company, DisplaySearch uniquely offers a true end-to-end view of the display supply chain from materials and components to shipments of electronic devices with displays to sales of major consumer and commercial channels. For more information on DisplaySearch analysts, reports and industry events, visit us at http://www.displaysearch.com/. Read our blog at http://www.displaysearchblog.com/ and follow us on Twitter at @DisplaySearch.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 2,000 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, entertainment, fashion, food, home and office, sports, technology, toys, video games, and wireless. For more information, contact us or visit npd.com and http://www.npdgroupblog.com/. Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.

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