TrendForce: Tablet panel shipment in December grew 25.6 % MoM to 19 million units

According to the last survey of WitsView, the display research division of TrendForce, the large-sized panel shipment for December 2012 reached 72.72 million units, surging 2.2% MoM and 27% YoY.

According to the last survey of WitsView, the display research division of TrendForce, the large-sized panel shipment for December 2012 reached 72.72 million units, surging 2.2% MoM and 27% YoY.


While approaching the end of 2012, main markets globally showed pauses in LCD TV procurement, leading to a MoM 10.3% decline in the December TV panel shipment to a shipment volume of 19.82 million units. As the TV panel demand eased and panel makers tried to maintain stable utilization, they turned to boost IT product panel business. The result of aggressively winning clients' orders caused IT panel price drops, and certain Q1'13 demand was reflected in advance in December. Among these, the monitor panel shipment stayed flat as the previous month at 14.76 million units while the above 12.1" regular NB panel market saw a shipment volume of 16.56 million units, dropping 1.7% MoM.

The tablet shipment showed dramatic growth. As Apple's 9.7" product saw lower-than-expected sales in Q4'12, the inconsistency emerged between panel suppliers' output and clients' procurement. But Apple increased procurement significantly at the end of the year on concern of maintaining the following relationship with suppliers, resulting in a noticeable 25.6% growth in the overall tablet panel shipment MoM to 19.34 million units, but Apple's act must drag down the 9.7" product demand even more in Q1'13. Netbook panel held a shipment volume of 2.23 million units, declining 10.7% MoM, on some panel makers' concern of year-end inventory clearance.

WitsView's research manager Jeffy Chen indicates that, in order to boost 2012 sales performance, certain Q1'13 demand was reflected in advance, along with brand clients' intention to adjust panel inventory in hands before the launch of spring new models, in addition, Q1 is the traditional slow season, the overall large-sized panel demand is expected to shrink 15%-20% in January. Among these, IT panels will show larger scales of declines with monitor and NB panels dropping 10% and 25%, respectively.The tablet panel's basis period in December was heightened abnormally, and the contraction may be as large as 40%. The LCD TV panel will trim 5-6%.

Individual panel makers have differences in client basis and product sizes that result in distinct business strategies when facing the slow season, but the inventory in the previous period has to be digested, and the Q1 panel demand should weaken. Panel makers will see huge challenges in production line utilization and flexibility of panel prices.

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