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WitsView, a division of TrendForce, reports TV sales during the Chinese Labor Day holidays posted a yearly decline of 6%. However, TV brand vendors are moving away from strategies that are based on quantity to ones based on quality because of exchange rate fluctuations and shrinking margins. This steady shift in their operation focus is reflected in their increasing demands for the 48-inch and 49-inch panels as well as the 4K panel products.
Large-sized TV panels will help consume more panel capacity overall. Additionally, the panel makers are still having inconsistencies with their 4K panel yield rates, so the rising demand for 4K panels will inversely raise the attrition rate of the 4K panel fabrication. Therefore, the effects from the additional Gen 8.5 capacities in China will be moderated indirectly by the inconsistent yield rates, which have become a major stabilizing factor in the panel market.
Regarding the TV panel market for May, WitsView’s Senior Director Eric Chiou said the 32-inch panels have remained in an oversupply situation. However, Chiou also noted the 32-inch panel are not seeing a bigger drop in their prices because the main Chinese suppliers of this product are having fab-related issues. Thus, their average price decline has been limited within US$2. The quote prices stay generally unchanged for panels sized 39.5, 40, 42, and 43 inches. The situation is likewise for the 50-inch Full HD panel products. These product segments are still enjoying strong demands. Prices for panels sized 48, 49, and 55 inches have fallen by US$1~2, which is comparable to April’s situation. Demands for the 65-inch and 4K products have risen, but the panel makers are still aggressively contesting over these two segments. Hence, the prices for both products have dropped by US$2~4 in May.
Compared with the TV market, the IT panel market has become more challenging. Facing dropping client demands and excess capacities, monitor panel makers have been using price incentives in order to sell more products. As a result, the prices for monitor panels have kept on falling during May. The 21.5-inch and 23.8-inch products have fallen by US$1~1.5 due to the high inventory level and new suppliers entering the market. Products of other sizes, including the 19.5-inch, the 23-inch, and the 27-inch are posting an average price decline of US$0.8~1. Overall, this general downward trend in May does not seem to be abating.
As for the notebook panel market, there is no sign indicating that notebook brand vendors are stocking up panels for their Windows 10 models, which will be launched in the second half of this year. The first quarter’s short base shipment period and the arrival of new models at the market in the second quarter are expected to raise the second quarter notebook shipments by 7~8%. At the same time, however, the shipments of notebook panels may have a quarterly increase of over 10%. On the whole, the notebook panel market has to contend with supply glut and overstock problems in the short term. Based on WitsView’s projection, prices for the notebook panels of mainstream sizes, including the 11.6-inch, the 14-inch, and the 15-inch, are going to slide downwards by US$0.5~0.9 in May because of inventory issues. Other size segments will see a decline of US$0.3~0.5.