IC shortage


2021-06-01

Monitor Panel Shipment for 1Q21 Declines by 8.6% QoQ to 39.9 Million Units Due to IC Shortage and Samsung’s Exit, Says TrendForce

Owing to the stay-at-home economy brought about by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for IT products has been sky-high since 2Q20. However, monitor panel shipment for 1Q21 declined by 8.6% QoQ to 39.9 million units due to the shortage of components such as ICs in the upstream supply chain, as well as SDC’s (Samsung Display Co.) decision to shutter its monitor panel manufacturing operations, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations.

Regarding the two aforementioned factors constraining the shipment performances of monitor panel suppliers, TrendForce indicates that SDC will exit the monitor LCD panel manufacturing business after it reaches its shipment target of 1.2 million panels in 1H21. This figure represents a staggering 93.8% decline compared to the 19.3 million units of LCD panels that SDC shipped throughout last year. Aside from SDC’s decision, the other detractor of monitor panel shipment in 1Q21 was the tight supply of semiconductor production capacity, which resulted in a shortage of such components as ICs and TCON (timing controllers) in the upstream panel supply chain. Panel suppliers were hence constrained in their ability to manufacture panels, thereby leading to a shortage of monitor panels. In addition, since TV and notebook (laptop) panels have higher profit margins compared to monitor panels, panel suppliers generally allocate less of their production capacities for manufacturing monitor panels relative to the other products.

Monitor panel shipment for 2021 is still likely to experience a YoY growth as material shortage becomes alleviated going forward

Nonetheless, as demand for TV and notebook computers gradually slows, and certain semiconductor foundries are expected to expand their production capacities in 2H21, TrendForce believes that panel suppliers will likely in turn allocate more production capacities to clients in the monitor segment in 4Q21. More specifically, the current shortage of components in the upstream supply chain, which has been exerting significant downward pressure on monitor panel shipment, will be gradually alleviated in 2H21. On the demand side, the persistent stay-at-home economy will continue to generate demand for IT products. Monitor brands will therefore ramp up procurement activities for components such as panels in order to maintain a healthy inventory level. In light of influences on the supply side and demand side, TrendForce expects monitor panel shipment for 2021 to reach 169 million units, a 4.2% YoY growth.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-03-09

Prices of Client SSDs for Notebook Computers to Enter Early Uptrend in 2Q21 with 3-8% Increase QoQ, Says TrendForce

Demand for notebook computers is expected to remain strong throughout 2Q21 due to the persisting stay-at-home economy that arose in the wake of the pandemic, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In response to the high demand for notebooks, PC OEMs are actively raising a consistent inventory of components, including client SSDs. Nonetheless, client SSDs are now in increasingly tight supply because the preexisting shortage of NAND Flash controllers is now exacerbated by the power outage at Samsung’s Austin-based semiconductor plant. SSD manufacturers are therefore preparing to raise the prices of SSDs. Accordingly, TrendForce has also revised up its forecast of client SSD prices for 2Q21 from “mostly flat” to a 3-8% increase QoQ instead.

As previously mentioned, Samsung’s semiconductor plant in Austin, Texas (here referred as Samsung Austin) was affected operationally by a severe winter storm that blanketed the entire state last month. As a result, production activities at the plant were mostly suspended from mid-February to March 2. TrendForce’s investigation of this incident finds that the plant is starting to recover operationally. Even so, the capacity utilization rate of the whole plant is not expected to return to the level of above 90% until the end of March, and this delay has had a palpable impact on Samsung’s chip production. With regards to product mix, there is no wafer input for NAND Flash at Samsung Austin. Nevertheless, 10% of its production capacity is used to manufacture in-house controller ICs for Samsung’s own branded SSDs. TrendForce’s investigation also finds that most controller ICs made at Samsung Austin are for client SSDs shipped to PC OEMs. In particular, among Samsung’s client SSD offerings, products based on 128L NAND Flash are expected to be directly affected by the incident.

It should be pointed out that, after kicking off mass production of 128L client SSDs in 4Q20, Samsung originally planned to take advantage of the release of Intel’s Tiger Lake CPUs to expand Samsung’s market share of PCIe G4 SSDs through aggressive pricing. After all, its competitors have been slow in ramping up production of PCIe G4 SSDs due to the negative impact of the pandemic and due to the longer-than-expected qualification process from PC OEMs. In light of the shortage of controller ICs, however, all SSD manufacturers are now forced to extend the lead times for their SSD orders, making it difficult for any manufacturer to increase their supply of SSDs and compelling them to in turn raise 2Q21 prices of client SSDs.

On the other hand, the power outage has had an impact on enterprise SSD prices as well, since enterprise SSDs and client SSDs are highly correlated in terms of prices. Furthermore, clients in the data center segment are expected to ramp up their procurement activities for enterprise SSDs in 2Q21 after the previous bearish period, meaning there will likely be successive QoQ increases in the volume of enterprise SSD orders going forward. Enterprise SSD prices are therefore expected to enter an impending upturn, and TrendForce has in turn revised up its forecast of enterprise SSD prices for 2Q21 from a 0-5% decrease QoQ to a 0-5% increase QoQ instead.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at lattechung@trendforce.com

2021-01-11

Global TV Shipment Expected to Reach 223 Million Units in 2021, with Ultra-Large-Sized TVs Becoming Latest Focus for TV Brands, Says TrendForce

Thanks to the stay-at-home economy brought about the by the COVID-19 pandemic, TV shipment in North America saw the start of an upturn in late March last year, while demand in the European market also gradually ramped up in 2H20, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. On the whole, global TV shipment rebounded from rock-bottom levels in April and peaked in October 2020. Nonetheless, recent shortages in IC products from upstream semiconductor suppliers led TV brands to push back their 4Q20 shipment schedules, resulting in a global TV shipment of 217 million units in 2020, a 0.3% YoY decline.

Looking ahead to 2021, TrendForce is not ruling out the possibility that the Tokyo Olympic Games and the UEFA European Championship, which were originally planned for 2020 but subsequently delayed due to the pandemic, will take place this year instead, despite the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. These sporting events are expected to drive global TV demand to yet another record high. In this light, TrendForce expects global TV shipment to reach 223 million units in 2021, a 2.8% YoY increase.

Survival of tier two and tier three TV brands will be challenged in light of IC shortage and surging TV panel prices

Whereas the supply of TV panels dwindled in 2020 owing to the reduction in Korean panel manufacturers’ production capacities and the slowdown in new Chinese panel manufacturers’ mass production ramp-up, demand skyrocketed thanks to extended stay-at-home times induced by anti-pandemic measures. Given such imbalanced supply and demand, prices of 40-inch to 55-inch TV panels rose by more than 60% within a mere six months, while prices of 32-inch panels more than doubled, in turn posing a great challenge for white-label TV manufacturers, which had traditionally survived in the market by offering low-priced TVs.

TrendForce further indicates that the tightening supply of TV panels throughout 2020 and faster-than-expected demand recovery in 2H20 both indirectly exacerbated the existing shortage of wafer capacities for IC products. Therefore, upstream suppliers, including foundries and panel makers, have become increasingly selective of their clients, and tier one TV brands have an advantage in securing wafer capacities from foundries due to their massive order volume. Case in point, year 2020 marked the first time when the combined market shares of the top five TV brands surpassed 60%. For tier two, tier three, and white-label manufacturers, the strained supply of panels and IC products will make it harder than ever for them to compete against tier one brands in the market.

Shipment of 65-inch (and above) TVs will likely reach 30% YoY growth in 2021

As the prices of TV panels underwent MoM increases every month throughout 2H20, the profitability of 32-inch to 55-inch TV units, which were the market mainstream, gradually plummeted as well. In response to declining profits from these low-priced products, TV brands began to redirect their procurement activities towards larger-sized panels. In particular, this period saw a 23.4% and 47.8% growth in 65-inch (and above) and 70-inch (and above) TV panel shipments, respectively. Under the assumption that panel prices will not undergo a substantial decline in 2021, TV brands will likely accelerate their product strategies for ultra-large-sized TVs. Therefore, TrendForce forecasts a potential 30% YoY growth in the shipment of 65-inch (and above) TVs this year.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

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