Plasma on the wane as demand weakens

Plasma TVs look set to enter the history books and perhaps remain as a footnote to the chequered history of displays, starting with the cathode ray tube (CRT). When Wikipedia 2050 comes out we will no doubt learn more. But by then I will be 101.

Market research firm Displaysearch said that panel shipments fell for the second straight quarter year on year, even though units grew strongly during 2008.

Plasma sales fell 28 percent in the first quarter of 2009, and 22 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

Worryingly for the plasma players, it was not just smaller panels that declined but the great big things such as 42-inch and 50-inch 720p models.

Pioneer is getting out of the market this year, but here are the top five plasma players right now, courtesy of Displaysearch. (Oops. we originally said 10 – here’s five of them.)

Needless to say, some of these players have a foot in both the plasma and LCD TV camps, because this is one of those two horse races which it’s a near certainty that the LCD sector will win.

Rank   Supplier Q4 08   Q1 09 Quarterly Growth   Yearly growth
 1  Panasonic  50.3%  39.1%  -44%  -15%
 2  Samsung SDI  26%  31.1%  -14%  -37%
 3  LGE  15.7%  22.3%  -8%  -51%
 4  Pioneer  4.2%  4.3%  -21%  -40%
 5  Hitachi  3.8%  3%  -40%  -58%

Hitachi bled.