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Displays – Growth in all areas

The global market for displays reported strong sales in the third quarter of 2009, prompting hopes of an upturn. Steve Montgomery finds out more.

The global market for displays reported strong sales in the third quarter of 2009, prompting hopes of an upturn. Steve Montgomery finds out more.

A business round-up carried out by Futuresource Consulting covering the third quarter of 2009 has identified a return to business growth for the displays category.

Projectors, large-format flat panels and interactive whiteboards all witnessed strong sales growth on a global level.

Mike Fisher, an analyst at Futuresource, comments on the findings: “Q3 2009 saw the first signs of market recovery with all three display categories posting positive growth on Q2 2009. The fourth quarter outlook also appears to be healthy, showing that the market upturn is not a short-term blip. The rapidly developing education and digital signage vertical markets had a huge impact on this stronger market performance and both offer significant long-term market opportunities.”

In the projector sector, global volumes reached nearly 1.6 million units, representing a 24% growth on the previous quarter. Sales to the education market were especially strong. These levels were achieved despite suppliers being affected by some significant stock shortages in the industry.

Geographically, the US and China led the way with 435,000 and 270,000 projectors sold respectively, accounting for 45% of all units sold worldwide.

Rapid growth in the emerging markets of Latin America, Indonesia, Russia and other Eastern European countries was also noteworthy.

Added functionality

As total cost of ownership becomes an increasingly important factor for many end users, the proportion of projectors with networking functionality is increasing rapidly and it is now incorporated in 26% of all projectors sold. The short-throw and ultra-shortthrow categories continue to gain traction, especially in the education segment. The combined short-throw category now represents 9% of total global market volume.

Prospects for flat panels also look to be turning, driven particularly by a large increase in volume for commercial large-format flat panels.

The last quarter saw commercial-grade monitors bounce back, reaching just under 200,000, which represented a 29% increase on the previous quarter and significant year-on-year growth of 13%. In terms of specification, entrylevel 720p products have continued to dominate. The 46in segment has also witnessed strong sales, with the screen size increasingly hitting competitive price points.

The story for interactive whiteboards (IWBs) is even better: this was the largest quarter ever for IWB sales, with 24% year-on-year growth. All regions experienced strong growth, not from any big tenders but via sales spread across a wide range of countries, extending from France and Germany to China and Japan.