Mobile Display Revenue to Surpass Television Displays This Year

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Many households these days are full of electronics. We have laptops, monitors, televisions, tablets, handheld gaming devices, and smartphones, and each one is equipped with a screen. It looks like 2014 will be the first year, according to a report from NPD DisplaySearch, that display manufacturers will make more money from mobile displays than from television screens. The mobile display category encompasses mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers.

According to NPD DisplaySearch’s predictions, mobile displays are expected to rake in 42 percent of the revenue of the flat panel display market this year. Televisions, by comparison, are expected to account for only 37 percent. This will be the first time in eight years that televisions have landed on the list in a position other than first place.

AppleInsider quoted NPD DisplaySearch executive David Hsieh as saying, “With strong growth in tablet PCs, high-end notebooks, and smartphones — especially high resolution and wide-viewing angle displays — mobile devices are leading the growth of the FPD industry. Mobile devices are expected to expand their revenue lead over LCD TV in the years to come, accounting for nearly half of all FPD revenue by 2016.”

On that note, AppleInsider reports that “Sales of television panels are expected to drop by $4 billion year-over-year while mobile panels will likely increase by a comparable amount.” Part of the reason mobile displays are raking in so much money is that their pixel-dense displays cost more to make than the less-pixel-dense displays on older devices.

But there’s no doubt that television sales are slowing down. One problem is that, over the past decade, many households have installed flatscreen TVs capable of displaying HD content. Since these TVs are seen as “good enough,” TV sales have dropped, particularly for televisions with displays over 40 inches in size. The television industry has also faced an uphill battle trying to entice customers to buy 3-D televisions, or TVs with Ultra HD 4K displays. According to Computerworld, TV sales shrank nearly 10 percent last year, while the average price for a big-screen smart TV fell 3 percent. That spells bad news for television manufacturers, especially as more and more people watch TV shows and movies on their smartphones and tablets.

Children especially are viewing content on mobile devices. According to a report by Common Sense Media, in the United States, the percentage of children ages 8 and under using mobile devices has almost doubled in the last two years. Not only that, but kids are spending an increasing amount of time per day using mobile devices, while their use of traditional screen-based entertainment, like televisions and computers, has declined. If these trends continue, and children maintain these habits as they grow up, television sales may not spring back for a long time, if ever.

As for the increasingly large mobile slice of the pie, the two big winners so far are Samsung and Apple. In the U.S., according to the NPD Group, Apple had a 42 percent marketshare in the fourth quarter of last year, while Samsung had 26 percent. The next closest competitors were Motorola and LG, with about 8 percent each. On a global scale, however, Samsung leads with 32.3 percent of the marketshare last year, while Apple has about 15.5 percent.

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