PC Monitor Market Still Bleak

Pile of monitorsIf you think it’s hard out there for desktop computers, pity the poor PC monitor — the once ubiquitous office accoutrement that’s now more likely to be found clogging up the backrooms and storage closets of IT shops everywhere. Monitor sales are flagging badly, with former market leader Samsung Electronics Co. leading the spiral with a double-digit drop in units sold last quarter.

If there’s a bright spot in the latest market figures for PC monitor sales, it may be flickering around newer monitor technologies like touch screens and units with built-in television tuners, but those higher-end segments are poised for only modest growth. Still, they might be the best areas for resellers to concentrate on if growth plans include sales of increasingly unpopular desktop hardware.

According to the latest market figures from IDC Corp., global shipments of PC monitors in Q3 fell 8.6 percent from a year ago; a declined blamed on the continuing softness in PC sales and increased adoption of mobile devices at lower price points. IDC expects the bleeding to continue with another quarterly drop of 3.2 percent for Q4. Annual 8 to 9 percent declines in monitor shipments will become the norm through 2017, when IDC predicts total shipments will be around 109.6 million units, lower than the previous forecast of 110.8 million units and a far cry from the roughly 137 million PC monitors being shipped today.

North America — the U.S. in particular — is feeling the brunt of the monitor slump. In Asia and Europe, PC monitors are still selling reasonably well.

Every major manufacturer lost ground in the PC monitor market except Dell Inc., which managed to tread water with a .7 percent bump in Q3 shipments. The most significant declines were at Samsung, which saw shipments slip from 5,962,887 in the year-ago quarter to 4,250,894 this year, a 28.7 percent plummet. The poor performance was enough to shave 3.5 percent off of Samsung’s market share over the past year, ceding the top spot to Dell, which now holds 13.9 percent of the market to Samsung’s 12.1 percent.

Monitor shipments at Hewlett-Packard Co. and LG Electronics Inc. were down 8.7 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

Within the tepid segment overall, LED backlight technology is maintaining its hold on the market with nearly 85 percent of the total units sold in Q3 an increase of 14.4 percent from a year ago, IDC found.

Screen sizes of 21.x-inches have held the largest worldwide share for the last four quarters and accounted for 21.4 percent of the PC monitors sold last quarter. Monitors with an aspect ratio of  16:9 continue to dominate with 77.5 percent market share, more than four times the second most widely used aspect ratio of 16:10.

In the few areas of growth, the market share of monitors with integral TV tuners are expected to grow to 7.7 percent by 2017, up from 5.7 percent this year. That space is led by LG and Samsung, which together own 95 percent of the category. Touchscreen monitors only make up a fraction of a percent of monitors sold worldwide, but nearly half of those units (48.6 percent) are sold in the U.S. and just under a third of those (28.6 percent) are sold by Dell.