According to the latest panel price data released by TrendForce in late December, due to subdued demand at the year-end, prices for panels in the TV, monitor, and notebook (NB) segments have all experienced declines. Details are as follows:
As we approach the year-end, with less-than-ideal results from the Black Friday promotions, there’s only a modest demand rebound observed for channel-owned brands with better sales performance. Major first-tier brands continue to adjust their panel order demands.
However, panel manufacturers are actively controlling output and inventory levels through production cuts. They even announced a nearly two-week annual preventive maintenance during the Lunar New Year in the first quarter of the coming year to ease the pressure of falling prices, while creating an atmosphere conducive to a potential reversal in panel prices.
Due to the signs of an expanding production cut, the current observed decline in TV panel prices in December is comparable to November, with a $2 decline for 32″ and 43″, a $3 decline for 50″, a $2 decline for 55″, and a $3 decline for 65″ and 75″.
For monitor panels, demand has remained weak throughout the fourth quarter. Panel manufacturers had only made slight concessions in prices for high-end models in the past few months. However, entering December, the pressure of price declines has extended to mainstream panel specifications. To maintain shipping momentum, some panel manufacturers have noticeably softened their pricing stance. The observed decline in December is expected to be $0.2 for 23.8″ Open Cell panels and $0.1 for 21.5″, 23.8″, and 27″ panels.
In terms of notebook panels, demand has significantly weakened in the fourth quarter. Faced with the pressure to maintain shipping momentum, panel manufacturers are experiencing changes in the previously stable panel prices over the past few months. As a result, buyers are beginning to have more negotiating power.
Observing panel prices in December, apart from 11.6″ and 14″/15.6″ TN models maintaining stability due to lower prices and limited supply, prices for 14″/15.6″ IPS models are expected to see a slight decline of $0.1.
TrendForce’s late-November panel price update indicates an ongoing decrease in TV panel prices, influenced by subdued demandand ongoing negotiations. In contrast, prices for mainstream-sized MNT and NB panels remain steady.
Entering the fourth quarter, TV panel shipments have noticeably weakened, with continuous price negotiations between buyers and sellers. Major TV brands have been consistently adjusting order demands since the latter half of the third quarter.
Faced with sluggish demand, panel manufacturers are attempting to slow down the decline in panel prices by expanding the scale of production cuts. The expected decline in TV panel prices for the entire month of November is anticipated to be comparable to the early estimates of the month.
Specifically, 32″, 43″, 50″, and 55″ panels are expected to decrease by USD 2 dollars, while 65″ and 75″ panels are expected to decrease by USD 3 dollars, and 85″ panels are expected to decrease by USD 5 dollars by the end of this month.
Entering the fourth quarter, there is a noticeable decline in demand for MNT panels. Some brand customers are beginning to request a reduction in panel prices. However, panel manufacturers are attempting to alleviate the overall price pressure by adjusting product combinations.
Mainstream specification panel prices are holding steady, with a slight decrease in prices for high-end specification panels.
It is anticipated that the prices of mainstream-sized MNT panels will remain stable in November, while larger-sized high-end models may experience a potential decline.
Entering the fourth quarter, there is a sustained weakening in demand for NB (Notebook) panels. There is a significant divergence in pricing perspectives between buyers and sellers.
Some brand customers believe that panel prices should start to decline, while panel manufacturers insist on maintaining stable prices. However, panel manufacturers are inclined to provide certain purchasing-scale customers with private concessions.
Therefore, it is expected that NB panel prices will remain stable in November at the current stage.
Source to YICAI, LG Displays (LGD) has decided to halt the sale of its 8.5Gen LCD panel production line in Guangzhou, China. Earlier this year, there were rumors about LGD seeking potential buyers for this facility. However, as of September 25th, LGD has announced its intention to cease the sale and aims to achieve full production capacity by the next year. This decision reflects the overall resurgence in the global LCD panel industry. Nevertheless, there remain concerns about the stability of panel prices, given the uncertainty surrounding increased panel production capacity and the recovery of end-user demand in the coming year.
Amid the shifting landscape of Korean panel companies expanding their LCD panel business and a diversifying global panel supply chain, China’s leading panel manufacturer, which currently holds over 60% of global LCD TV panel shipments, must tread cautiously.
The LGD Guangzhou 8.5Gen panel plant marked LGD’s first overseas panel production facility and held high expectations. However, due to an extended industry downturn lasting for the past couple of years, LCD panel prices plummeted below production costs. South Korea’s other panel leader, Samsung Display, even closed all of its LCD panel production lines. In response, LGD downsized its LCD panel business and planned to shift its focus towards OLED panels. In this context, the capacity utilization of LGD’s Guangzhou 8.5Gen LCD panel plant fell to half, and rumors of seeking buyers emerged.
However, by the end of June this year, LCD panel prices rebounded from their low point, returning to profitability. As we approach the final quarter of 2023, with the current LCD TV panel market in a profitable state, LGD plans to restore full production in 2024, increasing its LCD panel output from 7 million pieces this year to 16 million pieces next year.
The rebound in LCD panel prices this year is not solely due to high demand, shifting the industry from oversupply to demand-matching supply. It’s primarily because major LCD panel manufacturers have rigorously controlled production capacity and reduced output, gradually warming up panel prices and restoring profitability to the industry.
In 2023, BOE, TCL, and HKC are expected to account for more than 60% of global LCD TV panel shipments. TCL, in particular, announced a change in its operational strategy in July, shifting from full production to adjusting capacity utilization dynamically according to market demand. The revival of the panel market in the first half of this year was a result of supply-side adjustments and optimizations, as external demand didn’t experience significant growth.
With China’s National Day holiday approaching, research organizations such as AVC and GfK predict a year-on-year decline in China’s TV market during the holiday season. Next year, if demand in the consumer electronics market doesn’t fully recover, and LCD panel manufacturers significantly increase supply, there may be concerns about maintaining stability in LCD panel prices. LGD has been less inclined to engage in price wars, and this includes global players like LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and Skyworth, who have substantial shipments in the global TV market. However, in a stagnant market, if someone increases supply, others may be compelled to reduce shipments.
According to TrendForce Research, TrendForce reports that panel makers chose to maintain the surge in TV panel prices by controlling production as Q3 approached. Contrarily, brands, in their bid to sustain sales momentum, have not been able to transfer increased panel costs to consumers in the form of retail price hikes. This precarious balance has driven many brands to the brink of financial losses for Q3.
Notably, as international brands boost shipments gearing up for end-of-year celebrations, and with China’s Double 11 shopping festival stocking peaking at the end of September, an 11.9% increase in Q3 TV shipments is anticipated, amounting to 52.24 million units. Still, this falls 1.3% short of TrendForce’s previous estimates. The persistent rise in panel prices in 2H23 will compel brands to trim down on less profitable product lines. Consequently, the annual global TV shipment forecast has been revised downward to 198 million units, a 1.5% YoY decrease.
Next year, LGD’s increased supply of LCD panels could potentially impact partnerships between Chinese panel manufacturers and brand customers. In the context of a globally diversified TV brand supply chain, China’s leading panel companies are also accelerating their overseas expansion efforts. TCL smartphone and TV LCD module production capacity in India is already operational, and they are collaborating extensively with Indian and Chinese customers, with utilization rates reaching 70-80%.
On September 8th, BOE announced that its first-phase project in Vietnam and its Mexican plant have begun mass production for customers. BOE also disclosed plans to invest in the second-phase project in Vietnam, mainly targeting increased demand in Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia, while leveraging advantages in overseas manufacturing costs and tariffs to promote high-quality development of overseas business.
Source to UDN, in the wake of sluggish demand in the end-user market, the final stretch of September witnessed the tail end of a promotional surge in TV panel inventories as prices for panels below 50 inches seemed to reach a state of stagnation.
According to TrendForce’s view, Eric Chiou, Senior Research Vice President at TrendForce, has sounded the alarm, suggesting that TV panel prices may undergo a downward adjustment starting in November. This reflects a fourth-quarter demand that falls short of expectations, with continued weakness expected in the traditional off-season demand for the first half of next year.
Industry insiders contend that as TV panel pricing faces pressure to halt its upward trend, companies like AUO and Innolux, despite briefly enjoying profits this quarter, are likely to experience a downturn in their fourth-quarter performance, making it challenging to achieve an annual turnaround.
Eric Chiou analyzes that TV panel prices started rising in March this year. This was primarily a response to panel manufacturers’ consensus decision to reduce production after suffering heavy losses. However, due to the impact of a sluggish economy, terminal demand has failed to see significant improvement. Additionally, brand manufacturers, in response to rising panel prices, began planning early for the procurement of year-end panel needs in the second quarter and from July to August. This trend is already reflected in the pricing of TV panels below 50 inches, which has shown signs of stagnation since September.
In response to warnings from research institutions, it is feared that TV panel prices may cease to rise and may even decline in the fourth quarter. Yang Chu-hsiang, General Manager of Innolux, recently stated that the panel market’s prosperity is as unpredictable as a typhoon, and vigilance is required regarding the consumption power of the terminal market. He emphasized that panel manufacturers would not rush to maximize production but would instead make minor adjustments to meet demand steadily. He also reiterated the expectation that the second half of the year would be better than the first, with next year surpassing the current one.
During a recent earnings conference, the Chairman of AUO revealed that TV panel shipments increased by 5 percentage points in the second quarter. Coupled with cost-saving efforts, the operating gross profit turned positive for the quarter, and losses narrowed compared to the first quarter. Looking ahead to the third quarter, Peng remains optimistic, stating that “the worst time for the panel industry has passed.” With back-to-school and year-end sales seasons approaching, he anticipates that the “second half of the year will be better than the first.”
However, as the fourth quarter faces unfavorable global economic conditions, Eric Chiou believes that brand-end inventory for events like China’s Singles’ Day and the U.S. Black Friday promotions is taking a more pessimistic and conservative stance. September marks the tail end of the high-volume inventory period for TV panels, and with Chinese panel manufacturers having a significant share of TV products, they are expected to profit handsomely this season. On the other hand, Taiwanese manufacturers, with a relatively lower share of TV panel shipments, may hover near breakeven or see modest profits in the third quarter. If TV panel prices halt their upward trend in the fourth quarter, achieving the annual goal of returning to profitability may prove elusive.
TV brands are gearing up for year-end promotions in August, driving the continued surge in TV panel prices seen in recent months. Despite concerns over rising costs and potential procurement reductions, panel manufacturers believe that strategic production control based on demand can maintain price momentum. August is expected to bring price increases of USD 2~10 for various TV panel sizes.
In the monitor segment, August might see moderate price increases. Commercial demand remains weak, while consumer demand surged in Q2, with modest growth projected for Q3. Price hikes for Open Cell panels are expected to be around USD 0.1~0.2. Quotations for panel modules indicate a USD 0.1 increase for 21.5-inch, 23.8-inch, and 27-inch sizes.
Notebook panel prices are slightly rising in August. However, due to strong second-quarter shipments and limited Q3 growth, price adjustments will likely focus on entry-level HD TN models. Manufacturers aim for comprehensive adjustments, projecting a USD 0.1 increase for both HD TN and FHD IPS models. The extent of these changes will depend on negotiations between manufacturers and brands.