The liquid crystal display (LCD) market experienced phenomenal growth in the first quarter of 2003. Evans Research estimates that total shipments were 163,400 units, for an annual growth of 124 per cent. Corporate and government acceptance of the technology directly contributed to the success of the
market in what is considered a strong quarter for government purchases through resellers. Pushing market demand and acceptance through increased marketing efforts and sales incentives were the display vendors, the IT reseller community and electronic retailers. Combined, the three communities raised product awareness and inventory levels in the first quarter. LCD’s prices are forecasted to decline throughout 2003, bringing these high-end products to general consumers. Mainstream acceptance of LCD’s will ensure that suppliers see a growth in shipments from vendors, as resellers and retailers alike are considered vital components to building this market.
Fifteen-inch displays continued to represent the bulk of LCD unit activity in the first quarter of 2003 and finished up 54 per cent from Q1-2002, with an estimated 81,089 shipments. Leading vendors included channel-friendly Samsung, NEC-Mitsubishi and Philips. ViewSonic, IBM and LG Electronics also placed in the top vendor ranking. Pushing forward in 2003, IBM and Dell are expected to increase product visibility for their respective 15-inch LCD products that are a logical bundle with their desktop PCs. Average retail prices declined for 15-inch LCD products, with some retail prices reaching a sub-$400 price point. With a price closely resembling the bigger and bulkier19-inch CRT monitors, demand has opened up for the 15-inch LCD segment.
The Canadian market continued to exhibit a penchant for the larger 17-inch LCD as volume picked up considerably over previous quarters. Total shipments were 60,577 units, up an incredible 359 per cent annually. This growth can partially be contributed to the considerable drop in retail prices, as forecasted by ERC. Leading vendors were Samsung, NEC-Mitsubishi and ViewSonic. IBM and Philips rounded out the top five positions. All five vendors relied on IT and retail partners to identify key opportunities to place products. Large PC vendors who participate in both the LCD and PC markets offered upgrades to a 17-inch LCD with a purchase of their desktop system.
A phenomenal 314 per cent annual growth was seen in the 18 inch LCD market in the first quarter of 2003. Corporations were drawn to these large displays mainly as a result of a continuing decline in price. The migration of corporations and government to these larger screens is expected to carry through the remainder of the year, resulting in a year over year growth of 253 per cent.
Future success of the LCD market hinges on a few vital components, including increases in corporate IT expenditures and consumer IT spending. Other key factors include vendor product offerings and the ability of their sales and marketing teams to distinguish key benefits of one product over another. As resellers act as end-user sales and marketing arms of display vendors, establishing and maintaining these relationships are critical to the success of display vendors in the Canadian marketplace.