According to the latest TrendForce research, although factors such as panel and component mismatch and supply issues and the fading effects of the stay-at-home economy influenced shipments of e-sports LCD monitors (defined as refresh rates above 100Hz) in 2021, many brands targeted e-sports LCD monitors in 4Q21 with a strategy of aggressively reducing e-sports product pricing to prompt a volume surge and successfully boosted shipments of e-sports LCD monitors to 22.8 million units in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 24%. However, growth momentum will slow in 2022. In addition to long lead times, the most significant variable remains the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war. If the war continues, it will impair European market demand and affect the shipment performance of e-sports-related products. In addition, the Russian-Ukrainian war has triggered a surge in the prices of crude oil, metal, and agricultural commodities, spiking previously growing inflationary pressure. Thus, TrendForce conservatively estimates shipments of e-sports LCD monitors at 26.1 million units in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 14%.
In terms of product types, the market share of flat-screen e-sport LCD monitors reached 59% in 2021, officially surpassing the 41% of curved monitors. Last year, when Samsung Display (SDC) faded out of the supply chain, it caused a shortage in the supply of curved panels, increasing the magnitude of price hikes. In addition, the supply of flat IPS e-sports products continued to increase, resulting in a decline in the competitiveness of the curved panel market. In 2022, the market share of flat and curved panels will remain unchanged but the supply of curved gaming panels from the two major suppliers, AUO and CSOT, will continue to grow with curved e-sports panel pricing the first to fall. The cost-effective advantage of whole curved e-sports devices has reemerged, which will bump the market share of curved e-sports LCD monitors to 43%.
In terms of e-sports product resolution, FHD (1920x1080), QHD (2560x1440), UHD (3840x2160), and Ultra-wide (2560x1080/3440x1440/5120x1440, etc.), in 2021, FHD captured the highest market share at 62.9% followed by QHD, Ultra-wide, and UHD. TrendForce believes, in addition to continuously improving e-sports product specifications, the simultaneous improvement of resolution will assist monitor brands in maintaining or improving profitability. Especially since, starting from 4Q21, the supply of 34-inch (21:9) wide-screen VA products increased significantly. This coupled with noticeable panel price reductions, expands profit margin and allows monitor brands more room to operate and is expected to drive wide-screen monitors to compete for a 13.4% market share in 2022.
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