LCDs find place in handset markets

21st February 2013

As the mobile-phone market goes, so goes the small/medium liquid crystal display (LCD) market.

Subscriber growth in emerging regions, combined with replacement and upgrade sales, will drive the mobile-phone market past the 1 billion unit mark for the first time in 2007, iSuppli Corp predicts.

Largely because of this, shipments of small/medium LCDs — ie displays smaller than 10-ins in diagonal size that are used in devices like mobile phones, MP3 players, Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) and many other products—will exceed 3.8 billion units this year, up 6.3 percent from 3.6 billion in 2006. Revenue will decline, dropping to $19.9 billion by 2011, falling at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3 percent from $22.7 billion in 2007 due to severe price erosion.

“The overall small/medium display market, which also includes monochrome character-segmented displays used in digital clocks and other such applications, is changing to color and is adopting better-performing, higher-end thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, principal analyst, mobile displays, for iSuppli.

“The market for small/medium color displays is set to grow to 2.1 billion units by 2011, expanding at a CAGR of 7 percent from 1.8 billion units in 2006. The small/medium TFT-LCD market will grow more aggressively at a 11 percent CAGR from 1.2 billion in 2007 to 1.9 billion in 2011.”

Mobile phones are the largest application market for small/medium TFT-LCD displays, accounting for about 67 percent of sub-10-in TFT-LCD display shipments.

Shipments of mobile phones using TFT-LCDs are expected to exceed 835 million units in 2007, up 36 per cent from 614 million in 2006, according to iSuppli. The market is set to grow to 1.3 billion units by 2011. However, in terms of revenue, the mobile-handset TFT-LCD market will decline to $10.3 billion in 2011, decreasing at a CAGR of negative 2 per cent from $11.1 billion in 2007 due to the price erosion.

Although growth is expected from other applications, iSuppli believes mobile handsets will continue to dominate small/medium display demand for the foreseeable future driven by the following factors:

* The upgrade effect, as consumers demand better displays in their new mobile phones.
* Growth in the sub-display market.
* Aggressive price reductions that have discouraged the use of passive LCDs.
* Expansion of capacity at small/medium TFT-LCD fabs.

“Thanks to aggressive price reductions, TFT-LCD will continue to drive faster adoption of small/medium displays in a variety of devices like Portable Media Players (PMPs), PNDs and automotive displays,” Jakhanwal said. “This will give suppliers even greater incentives to reduce the prices on the displays and provide OEMs a reason to adopt the technology. Price reductions also are being driven by the rapid expansion in TFT-LCD capacity dedicated to small/medium displays. Many of the newer-generation fabs, previously used for notebook PC and monitor displays, now are being converted to making sub-10-in panels.”

iSuppli Corp




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