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Flat panel and front projection markets stall amidst recession fears

The flat panel and front projection markets continue to battle a string of challenges, as Q1 of 2023 saw substantial declines in volume and value across both markets. The worldwide flat panel market volume saw losses at -8% YoY, with value dipping by -19%. For front projection, market volume fell -10.4% in CY 2023 Q1, with value reporting a similar trend at -9.7%. 

“We are seeing the first major effects of the current global economic headwinds reflected in the data, as both volume and value take a substantial year-on-year hit. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Q1-2022 was still part of the ‘post-covid boom’ era, so the numbers at this time were inflated due to exceptional demand. Zooming out on the charts reveals that despite the current slump, the LCD market in general has performed relatively well over the past several years, and there are some signs that the economic situation may not be as bad as previously thought. However, an atmosphere of caution still rules the market,” says Sean Bradley, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. 

Caution is the mood of the moment for flat panels 

“The good news for Q1 2023 is that the component shortages that have plagued the last few years have largely corrected themselves,” says Bradley. “Although China navigated some prolonged Covid-19 effects, globally, it seems most of these difficulties have peaked.” 

Although the supply chain has settled, the overall market atmosphere remains one of caution. Inflation is very much the next big headwind, prompting a shift towards lower average selling prices (ASPs) for flat panels. “Vendors are hoping to provide cheaper solutions for tightening budgets,” says Bradley. 

Opportunities for flat panels 

Flat panel vendors have hurdles to overcome, but opportunities remain. Vendors have been forced to think on their feet and source components from alternative sources, which is allowing for greater scrutiny of production processes. While disruptive, many companies have found opportunities to cut costs and innovate previously untested workflows.  

Amid the increased efficiencies, the longer-term implications of service and support remain unclear, with global instability causing understandable concern among vendors. 

Projection carves out new niches 

With multiple industries prioritising immersive technology, projection has managed to find a space in this ballooning market.   

“The high-brightness segment – with its unique mapping, blending, and 3D interactivity – is not in direct competition with other technologies here, particularly ones that are seen as more futureproofed,” says Mossop.  

Education is hoping to replicate the popularity of the immersive entertainment seen in museums and artistic applications, offering more opportunities for high-brightness projectors. “It’s important to bear in mind this market is still in its infancy,” says Mossop. 

2023 has an overall positive outlook 

The front projector market is unlikely to achieve the heights of the pre-pandemic era. Much of the global workforce continues to work from home, resulting in little investment in office spaces. The previously anticipated recovery of the market did not fully materialise in 2022, but Futuresource expects the front projection market to see some of this recovery in 2023, due to delayed projects and a better economic outlook compared with 2022. 

This has materialised with EMEA and the Americas, both of which saw positive Q1s. Government support will also top up budgets to be spent this quarter. With Large Venue and Installation seeing steady growth rates, the picture is far from stale for front projection. 

“The chip shortage has long been wreaking havoc on supply chains, but 2023 should see this ease,” says Mossop. “The front projection market will face its fair share of challenges in the long term, but high penetration rates in developed regions should not be overlooked.” 

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About the author

Sean Bradley

Freddie Mossop

About the author

Freddie Mossop

Freddie Mossop joined Futuresource as a research analyst in 2021, responsible for researching and reporting on the worldwide projection market, as well as other Display technology. Prior to Futuresource, he graduated with a BA in Business Management from Nottingham Trent University.

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