Display


2021-08-17

Prices of Notebook Panels Expected to Plummet in Late 4Q21

The current state of the notebook panel market shows that prices of notebook panels are likely to follow the same trend set by TV panels and monitor panels in 4Q21. In other words, notebook panels may see their prices plummet from the previous uptrend during the quarter.

Notebook brands are confident that a wave of demand for commercial notebooks will take the place of the prior demand for consumer notebooks. Objectively speaking, however, as soon as enterprises return to pre-pandemic business operations, they are unlikely to immediately spend a considerable amount of their budget on refreshing their existing hardware, including notebook computers.

On the other hand, although consumer purchases comprised most WFH demand for notebooks within the past year, these notebooks were purchased with subsidies funded by the buyers’ workplaces. Once consumers return to physical offices for work following the termination of WFH, their purchased notebooks will then be returned to the workplaces as well. Hence, notebook brands which previously anticipated an upcoming wave of replacement demand for business notebooks may be overly optimistic in their expectations. As such, although notebook shipment has remained bullish in 3Q21, notebook sales are likely to gradually slow down going forward, meaning notebook vendors and brands alike may enter into a key period of inventory adjustment in 4Q21. At the same time, notebook manufacturers will also decelerate their procurement activities for panels across their entire range of notebook computers.


The four largest notebook panel suppliers still exert significant influence over the market’s overall supply of notebook panels, although newcomer HKC is not to be underestimated in terms of its potential to do the same, even pertaining to quotes. While HKC did not ship a single notebook panel in 2020, the company has ambitiously targeted an annual shipment of 10 million units this year in light of the expanded production capacity for IPS panels at its Mianyang fab. In 1H21, however, the display industry suffered a severe shortage of driver ICs, whose manufacturers first sought to ensure a steady supply of driver ICs for their more established clients. Being a notebook panel supplier that had had no business foundation, HKC, as was typical of such upstart companies, had its supply of driver ICs accordingly “adjusted” by driver IC suppliers. HKC was hence unable to effectively raise its shipment for 1H21.

As the demand for panels from various end-product segments slows down in 2H21, the shortage situation of driver ICs is also expected to either lessen somewhat or even turn into a supply-demand equilibrium. As such, HKC is likely to procure more driver ICs from its suppliers and subsequently step up its notebook panel shipment to 3.5 million units in 3Q21 and 4 million units in 4Q21. HKC’s increase in panel shipment for 2H21, if proven successful, will place downward pressure on notebook panel prices, thereby weakening said prices going forward.

TrendForce believes that 11.6-inch panels, the market for which has been relatively bearish, will most likely experience a decline in quotes starting in early 4Q21. At this size, even Full HD/IPS products, quotes for which have been relatively high in 3Q21, are likely to see their quotes hold flat in November 2021 and experience a sudden downward pressure on prices at the end of the year. Should the COVID-19 pandemic be brought under control on a global scale, demand for consumer electronics would likely return to its cyclical downturn in 1Q22, and the notebook panel market, despite its relatively robust supply chain, would see a more severe overall price accordingly.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

2021-08-05

OLED Panels Expected to Reach 3% Penetration in TV Panel Market in 2021 Owing to Persistently Narrowing Price Gap with LCD Panels, Says TrendForce

Thanks to TV manufacturers’ aggressive procurement activities, global TV panel shipment for 1H21 reached 135.2 million pcs, a 3.5% YoY increase, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Notably, high-end OLED TV panels and 8K LCD TV panels showed diametrically opposed movements. The former product category reached a 2.6% market share in 1H21 (with room for further growth going forward) due to LGD’s capacity expansion as well as the narrowing gap between OLED panel prices and LCD panel prices. On the other hand, the latter’s market share fell to a mere 0.2% in 1H21 as panel suppliers were generally reluctant to manufacture 8K LCD TV panels due to these panels’ poor yield rates.

TrendForce’s findings indicate that Chinese panel suppliers were able to achieve a 58.3% share in the TV panel market, which was nearly 5 percentage points higher than their 1H20 market share, thanks to their growing number of production lines. Conversely, Taiwanese suppliers saw their market share drop by 2.2 percentage points from 1H20 levels to 21.1% in 1H21. This decline took place because of their limited production capacities and because they reallocated some of their production capacities for TV panels to IT products instead. Korean suppliers likewise experienced a decline in market share to 14.3% after SDC shuttered its Korea-based LCD fabs L7-2 and L8-1-2 and sold its Suzhou-based Gen 8.5 fab to CSOT. Finally, Japanese suppliers’ market shares increased to 6.3% as a result of SDPC’s Gen 10.5 capacity expansion.

Regarding OLED TV panels, which are relatively high-end products, it should be pointed out that LGD is the sole supplier of these panels. Not only did LGD expand the production capacity of its Guangzhou-based OLED panel fab, but LGD’s clients in the TV sector were also increasingly willing to procure OLED panels in light of the narrowing gap between OLED panel prices and LCD panel prices. Hence, the penetration rate of OLED panels in the TV panel market grew to 2.6% in 1H21, with about 3.556 million pcs shipped throughout the period. Furthermore, now that the Guangzhou fab’s OLED panel capacity reached 90k sheets/month in 2Q21, TrendForce expects annual OLED TV panel shipment for 2021 to reach 8 million pcs, with a 3% penetration rate in the overall TV panel market.

On the other hand, 8K LCD TV panels reached a mere 0.2% penetration rate in the TV panel market in 1H21 because panel suppliers’ concerns about profit and yield maximization resulted in their relatively low willingness to manufacture these products. On the demand side, clients were also unwilling to procure these panels due to persistently high quotes from suppliers. With regards to panel suppliers, CSOT in particular benefitted from the unique structure of its client base, which allowed it to dominate more than half of the 8K LCD TV panel market, with AUO taking second place. The respective market shares of CSOT and AUO currently sit at 54.4% and 22.6%. TrendForce forecasts a 0.2% penetration rate for 8K LCD TV panels for 2021 as the growth of these products is constrained by their relatively high prices and the current paucity of 8K content.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-07-27

High-End Notebook Panels Projected to Surpass 20% Market Share in 2022 as Spotlight Falls on Oxide/LTPS/OLED Technologies, Says TrendForce

The massive rise in market demand for notebook computers in response to distance learning needs and WFH applications from 2020 to 2021 has generated not only a double-digit growth in notebook panel shipment, but also a price hike of more than 40% for notebook panels, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. As various suppliers subsequently scramble to manufacture OLED, LTPS, and oxide panels, TrendForce forecasts these high-end notebook panels to reach a 17.8% market share in 2021 and 21.4% in 2022.

Panels based on OLED technology are primarily supplied by SDC, whose OLED notebook panel shipment for 2020 reached 800,000 pcs. SDC is expected to ship more than four million pcs of OLED notebook panels in 2021, with room for further growth in 2022. In addition to SDC, EDO is also expected to begin mass producing OLED notebook panels in 2H21-1H22. As such, TrendForce expects OLED panels to reach a 1.3% penetration rate in the overall notebook panel market this year. Although BOE and CSOT are currently fully engaged in Hybrid OLED development, Hybrid OLED panels will not enter mass production until 2023 due to technological and cost-related bottlenecks that are yet to be resolved.

The top three suppliers of LTPS panels are, in order, AUO, CSOT, and Tianma. Thanks to such advantages as low power consumption and narrow borders, LTPS panels are widely used in high-end notebook computers. In the overall notebook panel market, LTPS panels are expected to reach a penetration rate of 3.7% this year. With regards to LTPS suppliers, AUO will likely expand its L6K fab’s production capacity of LTPS notebook panels in 2022. Innolux, on the other hand, currently allocates the LTPS production capacity in its Luzhu-based panel fab primarily for smartphone displays. Innolux is expected to mass produce LTPS panels for notebooks some time in 2H21. CSOT and Tianma will likewise gradually increase the share of LTPS notebook panels in their overall panel production in spite of their lack of capacity expansion plans at the moment.

Finally, oxide panels are primarily supplied by LGD, Sharp, and BOE. Much like LTPS panels, oxide panels have the advantage of low power consumption and narrow borders. However, oxide panels are relatively more cost-competitive compared to LTPS panels, as the former require fewer mask layers during the manufacturing process. Hence, oxide panels currently possess the highest market share among all high-end notebook panel types. TrendForce expects oxide panels to reach a 12.8% penetration rate in the notebook panel market this year. With regards to suppliers, IVO and HKC are expanding the production capacities at the Kunshan-based Gen 5 fab and Mianyang-based Gen 8.6 fab, respectively, for oxide panels this year, while CSOT is also planning the same for its new Gen 8.6 fab in Guangzhou. Once these three suppliers finalize their expansion activities, their oxide panel capacities are expected to exceed 70K sheet/m, and these capacities will be gradually available for mass production across 2022-2024.

2021-06-30

QLED/OLED TV Shipment Projected to Break Records This Year Thanks to Brands’ Focus on Large-Sized, Mid- to High-End TVs Says TrendForce


Continued price hikes of TV panels, as well as a simultaneous shortage and price hike of semiconductor components required for manufacturing TV sets have forced TV brands in 2021 to reduce the shipment of their mid- and small-sized TVs in favor of the more profitable large-sized, mid- to high-end TVs instead, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. This shift is expected to propel the annual shipment of QLED TV for 2021 to 11.02 million units, a 22.4% YoY increase. On the other hand, OLED TV shipment for 2021 is expected to reach 7.1 million units, an 80% increase YoY. As such, both product categories are expected to break records in terms of shipment this year.

It should be pointed out that, as increased vaccinations in Europe and the US bring about an imminent easing of border restrictions, TV demand generated by the stay-at-home economy is likely to slow down. In addition, TV panel costs have remained sky-high and shown no signs of downward movement. Hence, TV brands are moving towards larger product sizes and better specifications in order to maximize profits and minimize the financial losses incurred by selling mid- and small-sized TVs, which have relatively low margins. Given the downscaling of these less profitable models, TV brands’ annual shipments will likely suffer a corresponding drop. TrendForce therefore expects total TV shipment this year to reach 220 million units, a 1.4% YoY increase.

Samsung’s Neo QLED series will help propel annual shipment of Mini LED backlight TV to three million units in 2021

There has been a sharp drop in the profitability of mid- to small-sized TVs this year. In response, during the replacement period between old and new models, market leader Samsung Electronics has not only lowered the retail prices of its QLED products to attract consumers, but also released its new Neo QLED lineup, which features Mini LED backlights and resolutions ranging from UHD to 8K. Samsung’s QLED TV shipment is expected to undergo a 17% YoY increase to 9.1 million units this year, the highest annual shipment in history. In particular, Samsung’s lineup includes about 1.5 million Mini LED backlight TVs, mostly with 65-inch and 55-inch displays, and these sizes account for 33% and 30% of the company’s total Mini LED backlight TV shipment, respectively, while the ultra-large, 75-inch model will account for 17%.

TCL, on the other hand, released a relatively affordable 75-inch Mini LED backlight TV in 2020, with a 65-inch model released this year. TCL’s annual shipment of Mini LED backlight TV for 2021 will likely reach 800,000 units. Apart from the aforementioned two brands, Xiaomi and LG are also eager to enter the Mini LED backlight TV market. As such, TrendForce forecasts a total annual Mini LED backlight TV shipment of three million units for 2021.

While brands expand their production lines for OLED TVs, LG and Sony are expected to seize nearly 80% of OLED market share

At the moment, OLED TVs have been attracting consumer attention in the high-end TV market primarily due to their excellent image quality through high color saturation and contrast. As LG Display installs additional OLED capacity via its Gen 8.5 production line in Guangzhou this year, there will likely be a corresponding increase in OLED TV supply as well as a diversification of OLED TV sizes. Also, annual OLED TV shipment is expected to break records once again this year, as brands are willing to expand their OLED TV product lineups because strategic reductions in OLED panel costs have now significantly narrowed the gap between the cost of OLED panels and that of equivalent LCD panels, thereby giving OLED panels a cost advantage that allows TV brands to reap increased profitability. With regards to TV brands, LG Electronics remains the industry leader in terms of OLED TV shipment this year with a market share of more than 50%, while Sony takes second place with a 20% market share. Other Japanese brands (Panasonic, Sharp, etc.) and Chinese brands (Skyworth, Hisense, Xiaomi, etc.) are likewise expected to experience shipment growths going forward.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-06-28

With Peak Demand Having Already Passed, Glut Ratio of Panels Likely to Rise to 2.6% in 2H21 Due to New Capacity Installations, Says TrendForce

In view of aggressive procurement activities for panels used in various applications, TrendForce forecasts a 2% glut ratio for the large-sized TFT-LCD panel market for 2021, representing a supply and demand situation that ranges from “healthy” to “slightly in shortage”. As a lack of components constrained panel shipment in 1H21, the overall panel market during this period had a 1.2% glut ratio, which was lower than the average range of 2.5-3% and represented a supply shortage in the panel market. Hence, panel prices were driven into an uptrend for the first half of the year.

Regarding the glass input of panel suppliers for 1H21, despite the tight upstream supply of glasses due to certain work safety-related accidents, the overall capacity utilization rate of panel suppliers remained above 80%. Furthermore, as newly installed capacities, including CSOT’s T7 fab and HKC’s production lines in Changsha, kick off production, large-sized TFT-LCD glass input by area grew to 117.8 Mn2 (million square meters). On the other hand, owing to the proliferation of the stay-at-home economy last year, most display brands carried a relatively low level of inventory, which prompted them to ramp up their panel procurement. However, owing to a shortage of ICs, panel glass shipment (by area) for 1H21 reached a mere 116.4 Mn2.

TrendForce expects two developments to take place in 2H21: First, the arrival of the traditional peak season for monitors in 3Q21 means that demand for IT panels will still remain above a certain baseline; second, there is an ongoing trend for TVs to shift towards large-sized form factors. In light of these factors, although panel suppliers are expected to install significant amounts of production capacity in 4Q21 and thereby drive the glut ratio of panels to 2.6% for 2H21, this overall glut ratio is still within a healthy range. Nevertheless, as suppliers gradually ramp up their newly installed capacities, the quarterly glut ratio of panels is expected to increase by 0.5% from 2.4% in 3Q21 to 2.9% in 4Q21. Not only is 2.9% the highest quarterly glut ratio in 2021, but it is also the second highest since 1Q20, during which the onset of COVID-19 led to an oversupply of panels at a 7.5% glut ratio. TrendForce therefore believes that peak demand in the panel market has already passed.

Regarding the glass input and shipment by area for 2H21, certain panel suppliers are expected to perform routine fab maintenance during the holiday season. Even so, as Gen 10.5 production lines from certain suppliers and various other production lines from HKC begin ramping up capacities, the overall large-sized TFT-LCD glass input area is expected to massively increase by 5.9% compared to 1H21 to 127.2 Mn2 in 2H21. In particular, 4Q21 will see the highest quarterly glass input by area, at 64 Mn2. As previously mentioned, the shift towards larger-sized TFs and the persistent demand for IT products are expected to propel the overall demand for large-sized TFT-LCD glass in 2H21 to 123.9 Mn2, which is 1.4% higher than 1H21.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

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