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Electronics Production | April 16, 2007

Wide-Format LCD monitor sales to<br>nearly quadruple in 2007

Growing video usage, Microsoft Corp.'s Vista operating system, and aggressive pricing will all contribute to skyrocketing sales of wide-format Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) desktop computer monitors over the next five years, making this the dominant format in the market by 2009, iSuppli Corp. predicts.
Worldwide sales of wide-format LCD monitors are set to grow to 146.9 million units by 2011, rising at a whopping Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 74.3 percent from only 9.1 million units in 2006, according to iSuppli.

The year 2007 alone will see end-user sales nearly quadruple to 35.8 million units.Meanwhile, revenue will grow to $20.9 billion by 2011, rising at a 55 percent CAGR from $2.3 billion in 2006. In 2007, revenue will triple to $6.7 billion. By 2009, wide-format LCD monitors will account for the largest share of the LCD monitor market in terms of revenue and unit shipments, surpassing traditional-format displays, iSuppli predicts.

“The wide-format cut allows for more efficient glass utilization than standard-format panels, making the format a favorite of LCD panel manufacturers, but end-users in the monitor market have lagged behind television and notebook users in adopting the new standard," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at iSuppli Corp. “With the introduction of Vista, which favors a wide-format display, and attractive pricing on wide-format offerings, monitor users are finally shifting to wide alternatives. Adoption varies substantially by region, with China leading the way to date in wide-format adoption."

Wide-format alternatives are surfacing across all the monitor screen sizes, but the biggest battleground in 2007 is expected to be in the 19-, 20-, and 22-inch wide markets. The 19-inch wide alternatives, which have been priced considerably below their 20-inch wide competitors in the past, have led the market to date. With aggressively priced 22-inch wide alternatives now pushing below $300 at the street level, 20-inch wide panel and monitor suppliers were facing a price squeeze, at risk of being pushed out of the market altogether.

The 20-inch wide panels offer a higher resolution than the 19-inch wide-format LCD panels, and are generally considered to be a better fit for Microsoft Corp.'s graphics-intensive Windows Vista operating system, but as is often the case in the display market, price has trumped performance. Twenty-inch panel suppliers, recognizing their precarious position, have now responded with more aggressive price moves. With 19-inch wide panel providers now threatening to increase pricing, 20-inch wide providers are eager to take advantage of the opportunity, collapsing the price differential between 19-inch wide panels and 20-inch wide panels and finished monitors. With the winner of this battle poised to become the market leader in the LCD monitor market, the stakes are considerable.

As always, it is the end-users that reap the true benefit, with a growing number of choices at increasingly affordable prices.

The adoption rates for wide-format monitors are expected to be higher for consumers than for corporations due to a number of factors. The biggest factor is the growing importance of video applications – games, movies, IPTV, and video clips – in consumer computer usage.

The video allure is not really a factor for most corporate customers and Vista adoption in this market is expected to lag behind consumer adoption, with most businesses waiting 18 months to two years before converting to the new operating system. However, business customers are also seeing advantages to wide-format offerings, particularly for two-page, side-by-side viewing and spreadsheet applications.

Another segment where business demand for 19-inch and larger wide-format monitors is growing is for use as secondary displays with notebook computers. Because much of the mobile-PC market already has migrated to the wide format, IT managers are turning to wide-format monitors as the ideal match for wide-format notebooks.

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