Falling Display Prices Foreshadow Weak Notebook PC Sales

Apple mobile/touch devices
Apple mobile/touch devices

Monitor shipments for notebook PCs have been dropping for some time now, and prices have tagged along with the decline. High-definition 14- and 15.6-inch displays are selling for less than $40, nearly the cost to make them.

That's the result of the latest research from NPD DisplaySearch, which also forecasts that notebook PC shipments will decline from 187.4 million in 2012 to 173.2 million in 2013 for 8 leading makers. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Lenovo, and Asus are expected to ship more units in 2013 than each did in 2012. Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), Samsung, and Toshiba are each expected to ship fewer. In H-P's case the decline is 7 million units, while the decline for Dell shipments is expected to be 9.7 million units.

A DisplaySearch executive noted:

Notebook PC panel price recovery will most likely come from value-added scenarios for notebook PC usage, such as high resolution for better data processing and picture performance, ultra-slim form factor and lighter weight for better portability, and touch screen integration for improved user interfaces. These seem to be the only way for panel makers to stop losing money from their notebook PC panel business.

The $64 question, of course, is when will shipments of tablets pass notebook shipments? Some believe it will happen in 2013, while others think 2014 is a more likely time frame. IDC has raised its forecast for tablet shipments in 2013 to 172.4 million units, just a hair's breadth below expected notebook shipments for next year.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, PC Companies, Technology Companies Tagged: AAPL, DELL, HPQ, SNE