TV display panel sales reach highest level in 3 years

Mike Wheatley

Sales of television display panels hit their highest level for three years in the third quarter of 2020, thanks to an increase in the price of liquid crystal display panels.


Display Supply Chain Consultants said this week that display panel sales were up 21% from the previous quarter, and 11% from the same period last year, to $30.5 billion. That’s the highest figure since the fourth quarter of 2017, DSCC's report noted.

Samsung Display enjoyed the biggest share of display panel sales with revenue of $6.6 billion in Q3, down 21% from one year ago but up 9% from the previous quarter. China’s BOE was ranked second in terms of total sales, with LG Display, AUO, Innolux, CSOT and Sharp following.

Altogether, the major display panel companies saw their combined profits rise by 182% in Q3 compared to one year ago, to $2.7 billion. AUO and LG Display both posted double-digit profit increases, while the Taiwanese firm HannStar saw its profit margins grow by 37%.

The total operating income of the 13 display panel makers in DSCC’s report hit $1.33 billion, the highest total in two years. Not surprisingly, Samsung Display accounted for the lion’s share with 30% of that combined operating profit, DSCC said. Some of the companies share internal business data with DSCC, and it reported that six of them saw an increase in display area prices during the quarter due to the growing demand for LCD panels.

BOE said its average sales prices per square metre was $668, while LG Display reported a price of $706. Tianma, a Chinese manufacturer, said its average sales price per square metre was three times that of its competitors thanks to its unique product mix. In terms of total shipments, LG Display ranked first with a total of 8.3 million square metres of display panels shipped during Q3. BOE came second with 8.1 million square metres, followed by Innolux and CSOT.

The rising price of LCD panels is due to a reduced supply as panel makers switch their focus to newer, more expensive display technologies such as OLED, MicroLED and QD-OLED, for example. At the same time, demand for LCD TVs has grown due to COVID-19 lockdowns around the world. Omdia, another research firm, has said it expects this will lead to increased competition among TV makers for fewer panel supplies in 2021, and a consequent increase in LCD TV prices.

DSCC said the price of LCD display panels is likely to continue rising until the end of the year, and that display makers should see improved Q4 earnings as a result.