Large thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) shipments hit a record high in third quarter 2018. Area shipments increased by 14% year on year (y/y) to 52 million square meters in the third quarter while unit shipments rose 7% y/y to 197 million units. They also showed growth when compared to the previous quarter.
Despite rising panel prices in the third quarter, demand increased as set makers were working toward the holiday shopping season and panel prices were still considered low. Panel buyers tend to pull in more panels before the price goes up further. Also, tight supply of some key components, such as display driver IC and multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC), drove the demand especially for notebook PC and monitor panels.
According to Large Area Display Market Tracker by IHS Markit, LCD TV panel has led the larger-than-9-inch TFT LCD shipment to a historical high in the third quarter. Unit shipments of LCD TV panels reached 75 million units, up 9% y/y, and the area shipment recorded 40.7 million square meters, up 15% y/y, in the third quarter.
Panel makers have suffered from the plunge in LCD TV panel prices, which had continued through the first half of 2018. Panel makers had focused on clearing up inventories at low prices but started to increase the panel price beginning July 2018 when the demand was back for the year-end shopping season.
LCD monitor panels also saw a high growth in the third quarter. Unit shipments increased by 14% y/y to 40 million units and area shipments by 19% y/y to 6.1 million square meters. Main driver of the growth was size migration for high-end monitors, such as professional uses and gaming monitors. Those of 27 inches and larger saw a 17% q/q growth in the third quarter.
BOE, a Chinese panel maker, continuously led the large TFT LCD market in terms of unit shipments in third quarter 2018 with a 23% market share, followed by LG Display with a 20% stake and Innolux Corp. with 17%.
However, in terms of area shipments, LG Display, a South Korean panel maker, topped with a 21% share, followed by BOE with 18% and Samsung Display 15%. LCD TV panels accounted for 78% of total large TFT display area shipments, and South Korean panel makers still dominated the LCD TV panel market in the third quarter. LG Display took 19%, followed by Samsung Display 17% and BOE 16%.