Worldwide TV panel purchasing fell 8 percent in January compared to December after a sharp decline in buying on the part of Chinese TV makers, which negated the increases during the period made by most of the big global brands, according to an LCD Panel Supply Chain Tracker report from information and analytics provider IHS.
TV panel purchases in January amounted to 18.7 million units, down from 20.3 million units in December, based on numbers from at least 15 major entities along with a collective group of smaller players. Samsung of South Korea had the largest purchase total overall at 3.6 million units, even though it was the only major global brand to see a decline in January-down 13 percent from December.
The overall decrease in TV panel purchasing for January came when Chinese TV brands stopped buying after having completed orders for the Lunar New Year, which took place this year on Feb. 10. Chinese brands normally purchase their panels in the November to December time frame as they stock up for anticipated sales of TVs during one of the biggest holidays in China and other Chinese communities in Asia.
The Chinese brands that cut purchasing in January included Changhong, Hisense, Konka, Skyworth, TCL and Haier. Changhong slashed orders the most, down 46 percent, while Haier cut its orders least, down a relatively small 12 percent. All other Chinese brands reduced purchasing in a range between 33 to 41 percent.
The action of the Chinese panel buyers were in direct contrast to that of non-Chinese global TV brands, which sharply decreased their TV panel purchases in December as 2012 came to a close, and then increased their orders in January.
Other than Samsung, which curtailed its panel buying in January, all other global brands ramped up TV panel purchasing. The brands here included Sony, Sharp, Sanyo, Panasonic and Toshiba of Japan; LG Electronics of South Korea; and Vizio of the United States. Orders for this group were up between 5 to 49 percent.
Samsung gains in shipments even if it cut panel buying
While Samsung was the only global TV brand to have cut TV panel purchases in January, the electronics titan was the only panel maker to increase TV panel shipments to buyers during the same month. Samsung Display, the entity within the huge Samsung group that makes display panels, enjoyed a 2 percent bump in TV panel shipments to nearly 4.0 million units, up from 3.9 million in December.
In comparison, seven other TV panel suppliers posted a decline in TV panel shipments for the month, ranging from a decrease of 5 percent to as much as 29 percent. The affected makers in this group included LG Display; Sharp; Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display; AUO and Innolux Display of Taiwan; and Chinese makers CEC-Panda LCD Technology and China Star Optoelectronics Technology.
BOE endured the most serious downturn in TV panel shipments with a 29 percent contraction, while China Star suffered the least negative impact, incurring just a 5 percent reduction in shipments as its purchasing base includes a large number of no-name brands.
Among those buying from Samsung Display, Sony showed the largest increase in January, ramping up its buying by 86 percent. Toshiba also raised its purchase level of Samsung panels, up 24 percent. In contrast, all the Chinese buyers of Samsung-a group that includes the brands Haier, Hisense, Konka and Changhong-decreased their orders from the South Korean maker, ranging from a 5 percent cut in purchasing to as much as 57 percent.
Samsung Display's market share among China's top 6 brands stood at 12 percent in January, 6 percent lower than seen at the beginning of 2012.
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