By Chris Chinnock
The tight supply of display panels and components during the pandemic has led to record increases in pricing. This has resulted in increases in TV prices and a big drop in discounting, according to analysts. So how have these trends affected the 8K TV market? We don’t have a full picture, but below is some interesting data we have gathered.
At the Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) Business Conference at DisplayWeek, NPD analyst Stephen Baker provided a deep dive into US TV sales trends. These have been exceptional over the last year rising 20% to 40% on a monthly basis year-over-year. This is remarkable considering the average selling price (ASP) across all TVs rose from a low of $320 in April 2020 to $426 a year later.
But the story is more nuanced if you look at the data by screen size. The takeaway from this data is that raised prices on mid-sized TV prices but for 75″ and larger sizes, prices dropped until just recently. That’s probably because panel prices did not rise as much in this segment and retailers did not pass on increases as they have more margin to play with on these bigger sets.
Another trend highlighted by Baker was the decline in pricing for the premium TV market. Historically, that was defined as TVs that sold above $1,000 and this was a pretty consistent 10% of the market by units. Now, only 5-6% of sales are above the $1000 mark, so to get back to a more historical 10%, the price range needs to drop to $700.
Because of the roughly 4-month lag between panel pricing and TV pricing, TV prices could well rise for the rest of 2021 so sales TV sales should flatten. Baker was not sure if this premium trend will continue once a more normal TV market returns, however.
The data below from DSCC shows that before the pandemic, display panel prices were declining with the biggest drops coming in the larger screen sizes. But prices began to rise with the pandemic and are peaking now, says DSCC. Increases were highest for smaller panels and lower for larger-sized panels.
Turing to 8K panel pricing specifically, panel maker TCL-CSOT provided the following data which they collected as an industry average for the first half of 2021. Note that panel price increases vary pretty widely.
Market research firm Omdia has tracked 8K panel pricing from introduction as shown in the chart below. The 88” is the OLED 8K panel and the 32” is a monitor panel. This data does not break out by frame rate but shows 8K panel prices flat or slowly declining, going forward.
So, what does all this mean? These data points suggest to me that the gap is closing between big-screen and mid-range TVs and panels. The trend is making 8K TVs more attractive overall as the price difference reduces. But it is not yet clear whether this trend will continue. Supply constraints are reducing so mid-sized panel and TV prices may start to decline again in 2021. Also, headwinds remain for 8K sales. As panel maker AUO pointed out, there are 3 major factors that influence 8K panel pricing:
- Margin: common pool of capacity, so 8K must compete with 4K for mass production
- Cost: recently IC cost is up and 8K products need twice as many ICs
- Yield: Defect density is higher for 8K thus consuming more capacity vs 4K
Time will tell how these factors play out.