Corning said it is encouraged by retail sales of FPD (Flat Panel Display) TVs. We’ve heard this before. Corning COO Peter Volanakiswill said, “The current trends look positive,” citing strong retail sales of LCD TVs, healthy panel inventories, and stabilizing of LCD panel prices. Corning is the largest manufacturer of LCD glass that is used for making LCD TVs, LCD monitors, notebook PCs, netbooks, mobile phones, etc. The company is therefore highly vested in the overall health of the LCD industry.
First of all, LCD panel prices are indeed stabilizing but not for the most important segment: LCD panel prices geared for LCD TVs 37″ and larger. Strong retail sales of LCD TVs in the US? Corning is citing data from NPD Group (like it had previously) that show US LCD TV sales were up 35% Y/Y in January. “The first two weeks of February appear positive as well with U.S. sales up 40 percent year over year,” he said. Corning also stated that Taiwan and Korea-based LCD manufacturers have increased their utilization rates from January to February. The problem with NPD data is that the market research company does not capture 100% of the market and a big portion is estimated. I sure do hope NPD is right and that we are indeed bouncing back in retail but I have my doubts.