The worldwide market for 30+ inch flat panel display sets is expected to grow from 605,000 units in 2002 to 4,675,000 units in 2007, a compound annual growth rate of 50 per cent, according to Pacific Media Associates (PMA), a Menlo Park, Calif.-based market research firm

PMA tracks the worldwide

large-screen display market.

The steady growth in demand, plus the surge in the third and fourth quarters of 2002 as prices fell and consumers became more aware of the possibilities boosted shipments to a level that strained manufacturing capacity, says Rosemary Abowd, who directs PMA’s research efforts in large FPDs.

“Our monthly Reseller Tracking Service shows flat prices for the last few months, indicating that demand is equal to or greater than supply. Apparently, the total of the announced capacity of the plasma manufacturers, which is substantially larger than the 2002 shipments, does not take into account yield or other practical considerations.”

From fewer than 10,000 units in 2002, the worldwide 30+ inch LCD set market is expected to grow to almost 1,400,000 units in 2007, though still making up less than one-third of the total. Although the LCD glass manufacturers are investing billions of dollars in factories capable of making the larger sizes, and the growth of sets is expected to be very rapid, PMA believes that LCD-based models will not overtake plasma-based models by 2007. In addition to considerations of manufacturing cost, and thus final set cost, myriad factors such as yield (and thus true supply level), branding, and distribution will play important roles in determining the mix of plasma vs. LCD technologies.

The conventional wisdom (at least among LCD makers) is that LCDs will dominate in sizes below 50 inches by 2007. PMA’s forecasts do indicate that LCDs will dominate the sub-40 inch range, but they do not show that this dominance will extend to the 40-49 inch range, as LCDs are expected to account for only about 500,000 of the 1,750,000 total sets in this range in 2007.

William Coggshall is the president of Pacific Media. You can visit PMA at www.pacificmediaassociates.com.

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