With all industries and economists tracking consumer sales right now, it was good to see some numbers for 2010 confirmed recently here by iSuppli, and to see the forecasts for consumer electronics (CE) continue to hold steady in growth territory through 2014.
Among the biggest 'winners' globally continue to be LCD TVs, Blu-ray players and portable media players (PMP), according to the same report. However, Blu-rays and PMPs are facing a shakier forecast as a result of competition from changes to other devices that now are serious competitions (e.g., smart wireless devices (SWD), gaming consoles, digital media adapters (i.e., streaming video content devices), etc.).
LCD TVs, however, are up and that trend is seen as one that will continue as consumers worldwide complete replacement cycles for older CRT models and new LCDs are also purchased by the emerging economies' consumer populations. In support of these forecasts, Samsung and LG, who together represent roughly half of the LCD market, were recently granted permission to build new, joint venture, LCD plants in Suzhou and Guangzhou, respectively, according to this report from ElectronicsWeekly. Production is anticipated for 2012 for 7.5 generation 40-inch panels by Samsung, and 8th generation 50-inch panels by LG, with the primary CE market being the growing Asian market (cf. this report by DisplaySearch for the latest discussion on gen 8 fabs more generally).
To be fair, all is not rosy the world over for LCD TVs. TV sales growth in Asia and emerging economies is strong, very strong. Sales for the first time have surpassed North America, Europe and Japan, according to this DisplaySearch report. However, concern does linger for the North American and European markets. Plasma TVs have seen particularly strong sales where pricing has been the most important feature, giving the steady LCD TV sector trouble moving inventory because of less price flexibility. While Europe continues to trend negatively for overall TV sales, North America has picked up thus far in 4Q10, and forecasts are optimistic. In support of this bit of optimism is the stability seen in pricing increases for larger LCD panels (cf. this iSuppli report), particularly for TV panels, but it must be underscored that this optimism is based on the growth from the emerging economies' ability to compensate for lagging sales in North America and Europe, in particular.