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Global touch module market slows down in 2014

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Despite 14-percent growth in global shipments of touch modules in 2014, annual sales are expected to see their first decline, of 1 percent, in four years, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

The worldwide touch module market is growing at a slower pace this year than last year because of weak demand for notebooks and all-in-one PCs, the market research firm said Tuesday.

Shipments Reach 1.72 Billion Units

Global shipments of touch modules are forecast to increase 14 percent year-on-year to 1.721 billion units in 2014, compared with 17-percent growth posted last year, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

The slowdown can be partially attributed to the sluggish demand for notebooks and all-in-one PCs larger than 10 inches, which cost more but lack attractive form factors, said Calvin Hsieh (謝勤益), a research director with NPD DisplaySearch.

“Both (notebooks and all-in-one PCs) lack convincing scenarios in which they change user behavior and need to compete with smartphones and tablet PCs for consumer budget allocations,” he said during a local conference on the touch industry organized by NPD DisplaySearch.

Smartphones and tablet PCs, meanwhile, will likely remain the two major growth drivers of the touch module market, with estimated stable growth of more than 10 percent annually from 2014 to 2016, Hsieh predicted.

The research firm earlier said that touch module makers are now facing greater competition, which is leading to revenue declines for the first time in four years. According to the NPD DisplaySearch, 2013 touch panel shipments increased 17 percent and revenue increased 27 percent year-on-year. However, 2014 revenues are expected to decline 1 percent, while shipments are forecast to rise 15 percent.

ASP, Sales Fall

“Increased competition among the growing number of touch-panel makers is causing overall average sales price (ASP) and revenue declines, even as shipment volumes continue their upward trajectory,” said NPD DisplaySearch. “Some touch module makers will not survive the coming shakeup, but others are already preparing for new opportunities, including increasing production of new indium tin oxide (ITO) replacement materials.”

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