Flat panel displays take off - finally

Long touted as the "next big thing", but failing to make a great impact on the market, sales in flat panel display (FPD) screens look like they have finally taken off.

November FPD sales grew 85 per cent on October figures, according to latest figures from market analyst Inform. The growth was followed by an equally buoyant December - up 70 per cent and accounting for 13 per cent by value of the overall market.

The figures are largely the result of falling prices - a factor Inform analysts have been predicting for a while now. But this could prove both a blessing and a curse for resellers.

"The fact that FPDs are on the move is really good news for the channel, however, we expect falling prices to erode margins somewhat as more and more resellers jump on the bandwagon," said research manager at Inform's market monitoring division, Chris Herbert.

Until now, FPDs failed to have the expected impact on the market, accounting for just 2 per cent of the indirect market by volume, although their higher price tags took the category to 10 per cent market share in terms of sales. Leading vendors in the market include Samsung, with 14 per cent of the market, LG Electronics with 11 per cent, and Mitsubishi, Philips and ViewSonic.

High-end monitors also did well in the cathode ray tube (CRT) arena, with 19-inch and 21-inch screens growing 17 and 15 per cent respectively.