Mon, Jan 09, 2006 - Page 10 News List

ISuppli ups forecast for LCD-TV sales

SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES With declining prices and panel-makers' capacity growth, the market researcher has hiked its outlook for sales through 2009 by fully 25 percent

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Market researcher iSuppli Corp raised its forecast for global sales of liquid-crystal-liquid (LCD) TVs from last year through 2009 by 25 percent, as falling prices spurred stronger-than-expected demand for the sleek products, the company said in its latest report.

The researcher attributed declining TV prices to LCD panel makers' continuous capacity expansion, according to the report released last week.

Sales of LCD-TVs may expand to 76.7 million units in 2009, compared to its previous projection of 61.2 million units, the researcher said.

In the third quarter of last year, sales of the flat-panel TVs more than doubled to 5.2 million sets, compared to 2.2 million sold a year ago, iSuppli said.

That represented an almost 30-percent increase from sales of 4 million sets in the second quarter, the researcher said.

"Upcoming production capacity, declining prices for LCD panels and television sets and escalating consumer interest and adoption have led iSuppli to upwardly revise its estimate and forecast for LCD-TV shipments," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst on television systems for iSuppli.

The better-than-expected third-quarter sales prompted iSuppli to raise its estimate of LCD-TV sales for last year to 19.6 million units, more than double the 8.9 million recorded in 2004. The researcher did not give the number of its earlier estimate.

Greater acceptance of flat-screen TVs and declining prices will also improve performance at panel-makers' newer-generation fabs.

As panel makers move to sixth-generation and newer fabs, their overall capability and cost savings in making 32-inch panels increases, it said.

With these fabs beginning full-scale production, panel and television prices will continue to decline, making LCD-TVs more affordable to consumers in mature markets and emerging regions.

The world's two largest LCD panel manufacturers, Samsung Electronics Co and LG Philips LCD Co, announced last week that they have started mass production at their new plants this quarter, three months earlier than scheduled.

LG Philips said the new fab would process bigger glass substrates measuring 1.95m by 2.25m, which would allow the firm to cut eight 42-inch panels, or six 47-inch panels.

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third-largest LCD panel maker, plans to ramp up production at a new fab in the last quarter of this year, targeting the larger-sized LCD-TV market.

The new fab will process 30,000 glass substrates measuring .95m by 2.25m per month, AU Optronics said.

Increased sales in China in the wake of the 2008 Beijing Olympics are also a factor for the renewed forecast, iSuppli said.

Sharp Corp and Royal Philips Electronics NV remained the two biggest TV brands in the third quarter, while Sony Corp posted the biggest gain by climbing three notches to take the No.3 position from Samsung Electronics Co, according to the iSuppli report.

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