LCD panel makers have continued to bring new production capacities to the market, and the increasing pressure from oversupply has resulted in a sharp decline in panel prices, according to the latest report by WitsView, a division of TrendForce. Therefore, Samsung Display has strategically decided to allocate more capacity to QD-OLED TV production in advance. As the result, the stock-up demand for TV panels may arrive earlier than expected in 2Q19.
SDC has recently decided to cut the L8-1-1 LCD capacity of its Gen 8.5 fab in Korea this June, and allocate the capacity to the production of OLED backplane. A further reallocation of its L8-2-1 capacity has also been scheduled in this September.
According to Anita Wang, senior research manager of WitsView, SDC will prepare for the 8-1-1 capacity reallocation in advance, and equipment adjustments may result in lower output for 2Q19. Therefore, branded TV makers may start to stock up panels in advance. On the other hand, TV Panel prices would be approaching the lowest point in 1Q19, and the earlier stock-up demand in 2Q19 may help stop the price fall.
WitsView notes that the growth in the world’s total glass input area for large size LCD panel would be 12.9% if SDC did not plan for the capacity reallocation. With the reallocation, the growth is expected to be only 11.2% this year, 1.7 percentage points lower.
In terms of product applications, 49-inch and 55-inch panels will be mainly affected by SDC’s capacity reallocation this time. The global output of 49-inch panels in 2019 will be 40% less than that in 2018, since there is no alternative supplier. Meanwhile, Chinese panel makers will continue to ship more 50-inch panels, making 49-inch less popular among all the mid-range TV panel sizes. WitsView estimates that the total demand for 49-inch and 55-inch panels will be around 37 million pieces this year, remaining flat compared with 2018, but the portion of 49-inch panels will decrease from 50% in 2018 to 30% in 2019.