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Plasma Takes A Battering Despite Premium Display Status

A new report from the DisplaySearch has revealed that Plasma panel shipments declined 22 percent in the first quarter of 2009 and 28% from the previous period.

Shipments for the quarter were 2.8 million units, down from 3.5 million units in Q1 2008, DisplaySearch said.

“Some brands announced their withdrawal from the plasma TV business in Q1 ’09, like Pioneer, while other brands decided to shift away from plasma to focus on LCD TV only,” DisplaySearch said. “The result was weaker than anticipated shipments as the number of brands consolidates.”

Share of 1080p shipments dipped slightly from 25 percent in Q4 2008 to 22 percent in Q1 2009 as manufacturers focused on offering the lowest-priced products to consumers, such as 42-inch and 50-inch 720p models, at a time when consumer price sensitivity continues to climb.

Most of the share lost by the discontinuation of 32-inch shipments was picked up at 50 inch with a smaller share increase at 42 inch.

Shipment share of 46-inch class panels continues to struggle to rise over 3 percent of unit volume for two reasons. Forty-two-inch and 50-inch HD products are priced at very compelling levels, and competitive 46-inch and 47-inch 1080p LCDs are priced similarly to 46-inch 1080p plasma, limiting growth.

The Fifty inch and above bracket saw a share of shipments reaching a new high of 33 percent in Q1 2009, from 30 percent in Q4 2008, as plasma TV brands focused on large-panel screen sizes, which remain more competitively priced than LCD.

“As bad as plasma unit shipments were in Q1 ’09 relative to a year ago, plasma panel revenues were even worse, declining 36 percent year over year as falling prices were needed to stem even steeper demand falloff,” noted Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearchTV market research director.