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Press release:  European Monitor Market Continues To Defy LCD Panel Price Rises

Date : 2004-05-25

The latest set of data from Meko's DisplayCast market research service shows that the European desktop monitor market performed ahead of expectations in Q1 2004. This was due mainly to strong corporate buying combined with some aggressive marketing of 17" LCD monitors in some regions.

With panel prices continuing to rise during the end of Q4 2003 and into Q1 of this year, Meko had anticipated a further possible slow-down in the penetration of LCD monitors in Europe. Fortunately, currency movements favoured the euro and sterling, and helped to keep street prices in the majority of the market flat or down in local currency terms. This meant an increase in the overall penetration rate of LCDs from around 54% in Q4 2003 to 58.5% in Q1 2004.

15" LCD panels and hence 15" LCD monitors continue to be scarce - unless one is prepared to pay a hefty premium. But demand is still there and this is frustrating the efforts of some suppliers, especially in the more price-sensitive but rapidly growing eastern European markets.

"What is a concern is that there is likely to be significant channel
inventory following price reductions during Q1 (particularly at the end of that period). With a seasonal slow-down in demand in Q2 and a rumoured clearout of 17" panel inventory by Samsung, there could be some big problems in the market in the next few months", commented Pete Gamby, research director at Meko.

It was only the east of Europe and Turkey that experienced sequential
growth in the declining CRT monitor market. All other regions saw medium to high double-digit percentage declines.

The decline in CRT monitor unit sales was just over 21% sequentially, and more than 22% year-on-year. Shipments in all screen-size categories were down. Sales of 15" and high-end 17" CRT monitors fell the furthest at more than 30% each quarter-on-quarter. The larger screen sizes did not drop away as quickly as expected though with 19" and >21" categories declining more slowly than the total market.

In the CRT monitor market Samsung was at the top of the list again this quarter. The company is managing to squeeze out the competition in many regions and, in a market that fell year-on-year, the Korean electronics giant still managed to turn in year-on-year growth. This took it past a 25% share of the market by volume.

In second place was Philips which also reported a year-on-year increase in CRT sales. The next three players all suffered year-on-year declines in volume terms with HP down by more than 50%.

For LCD monitors, overall unit sales were down sequentially by 7.5% but grew year-on-year by 36%.

By size, it was only the 19", 20" and >22" segments that saw growth
compared to Q1. The 18" category dropped significantly, as was expected, with shipments down by more than 20%. This was despite strong sales in some countries for corporate projects.

The LCD volume sales chart is topped by a PC vendor for the fourth time in a row. HP managed to maintain a lead over Dell in Europe and it grew sales in all the size categories in which it sells except 15".

In second place, Dell's shipments were down slightly compared to Q4 2003 despite very strong PC sales. The only category in which Dell managed to sustain a sequential increase was the 20" sector. Here, sales were up by more than 30% compared to Q4 2003.

Samsung showed good sequential and year-on-year growth to maintain third place. It was particularly successful with shipments of 17" monitors which were up more than 25% compared to Q4 2003.

Acer continues its assault on the European IT market and its monitor
shipments were up by nearly 80% year-on-year.

Outside the top five, NEC Mitsubishi was the best-placed specialist monitor supplier in the LCD market whilst Benq was again the highest placed of the companies that sell only LCD monitors.

"This quarter, we looked closely at how each brand or supplier is promoting LCD monitors and there are some very different strategies already apparent", noted Gamby.

For example, Samsung is still reliant on its CRT business to keep it at the top of the table overall, whilst both HP and Dell are both now selling more LCD monitors than CRT products.

Acer is continuing to focus on LCD and shows its strong position by having only about a tenth of its sales in the CRT market and still making it to fifth place overall.

"The regional differences in Europe have always been apparent but it is worth reminding oneself that the IT market in Sweden is very different to that in Spain", said Gamby.

For example, Meko notes that the German monitor market is characterised by a number of strong players making up the top twenty suppliers. The top twenty account for more than 90% and the top ten account for 65% of all shipments.

In contrast, the Italian market is dominated by the top five or so
suppliers. Here the top five account for more than 60% of the market and those below position ten are struggling to gain more than a 2% share.

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, the top suppliers are a real mixture of those favouring LCD and those with a more balanced blend of products.

Taiwanese supplier AG Neovo makes third place on the back of just LCD
sales.

In Russia, things are very simple - Samsung owns the market!

Meko is a specialist market research consultancy and publisher providing advice and data for the European displays market. For information on its range of reports and the Display Monitor newsletter call +44 (0)1276 22677,

e-mail sales@meko.co.uk or visit http://www.meko.co.uk

You can also purchase Meko reports in the USA from DisplaySearch, the
worldwide leader in flat panel display market research and consulting.

Please contact DisplaySearch at TEL: 512-459-3126, FAX: 512-459-3127,
email: info@displaysearch.com or Web: www.displaysearch.com.

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