SAN JOSE, Calif. Sales of large-screen LCDs in November hit their lowest level since May 2007, according to market watcher DisplaySearch (Austin). Shipments were down more than 20 percent on a monthly and annual basis, presaging a slow down for systems such as notebooks and flat-panel TVs.
The news comes on the heels of a report that cited better than expected PC sales in the third quarter of 2008, fueled largely by growth in notebooks. Notebook display sales were down 25 percent on a monthly basis to 8.5 million units in November, DisplaySearch said.
Overall, panel makers shipped 28.5 million TFT LCDs, down 21 percent from October sales. Revenues fell 24 percent on a monthly basis to $3.8 billion.
Panel makers shipped eight million TV displays, down 17 percent on a monthly basis.
They sold 10.9 million displays for flat-panel monitors, the lowest level in that market since June 2006.
Panel makers in Korea and Japan took a couple points of market share each from those in Taiwan during the month. Korea captured 50.9 percent of the LCD business in November compared to Taiwan at 34.3 percent and Japan and 10.5, according to a report from DisplaySearch.
LG Display and Samsung continued to be the leading vendors. LG led in notebook units with 33.3 percent share, while Samsung led in monitor and TV display shipments with 22.2 and 27.9 percent respectively.
"The TFT LCD industry is going through the hardest time in a decade as shipments and revenues dramatically decline," said David Hsieh, vice president of DisplaySearch in a press statement.
Taiwan's display makers are running at utilization rates below 60 percent, while Korea's vendors are falling below 80 percent, according to DisplaySearch. Hsieh said display makers will have to cut back production because falling prices do not seem to be stimulating more demand.
"Currently, most panel prices are below cash cost, and some lower than the bill of materials cost. However, the biggest challenge may be in Q1'09, since downstream demand is unclear as long as panel prices continue to fall," he said.