Despite a drop in unit sales in the third-party monitor market over the third quarter, channel research firm Inform's fourth-quarter predictions are more positive.
Monitor unit sales in Q3 were lower than forecast, dropping 3 per cent year-on-year. Inform attributed this slump to unusually depressed corporate activity over the quarter.
Unit sales in August were down 14 per cent year-on-year, and increased only 8 per cent in September from the uncharacteristically depressed market of September 2001. However, Inform said the monitor market maintained the same market value as the previous year, indicating a continuing trend towards flat-screen technologies and larger screen sizes.
Flat-panel displays (FPDs) were the hot item over Q3, representing 24 per cent of all third-party monitor sales. According to Inform, vendors have reported recently that the proportion of OEM bundles, which include FPDs, has been increasing dramatically. This is partly due to LCD panel costs falling sharply again, while the supply problems that dogged the industry earlier this year seem to have been resolved.
Nevertheless, cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are still strong contenders in the monitor arena, experiencing 60 per cent year-on year unit growth in Q3 but only representing 6 per cent of the total market value. This high growth in unit sales is largely due to the price erosion of all CRTs.
Even before the end-of-year price cuts, there are some excellent bargains to be snapped up, particularly with CRT monitors. According to Inform, 15-inch CRTs are typically selling below cost price, and 17-inch monitors have now replaced 15-inch monitors as the standard entry-level screen. Over the past three months, 19-inch monitors have also dropped significantly, and it is now possible to buy top-of-the-range flat screens for under $550.
Inform has reported that preliminary signs of stronger corporate and pre-Christmas retail spending are pointing to an excellent final quarter to the year.