Flat-panel LCDs will outship traditional CRT monitors this year, according to analyst firm IDC, but severe shortages are already plaguing the UK channel.
IDC has claimed flat-panel displays are flooding the market, eroding further the position of CRTs. By the end of 2004 they will overtake CRTs in unit shipments. By 2007 global shipments of LCDs will top 119 million, versus 30 million CRTs.
A early as next year, 17in LCD panels will replace 15in models as the biggest seller.
"There's a universal attraction to these thinner, lighter displays," said Jennifer Gallo, analyst at IDC's displays and projectors service.
"Throw out an appealing price point to the masses and you've got a formula for shaking up the marketplace."
Mike Farrah, senior business manager for AV and displays at broadline distributor Ingram Micro, said: "Our sales ratio has been 80 per cent LCDs to 20 per cent CRTs over the past 12 months.
"You can expect that gap to widen as the year progresses. There will still be a market for CRTs but it will be a price-driven purchase."
Despite the projected dominance of flat-panel LCDs in more advanced markets, IDC claimed the CRT is expected to live on in high volumes in less-developed countries.
Globally, IDC expects the flat-panel industry to follow the PC model, with the US as the main market until 2006, when it will be replaced by Asia-Pacific.
Although flat-panel demand is high, supplies of lower-end products are already thinning as manufacturers concentrate on higher-value products.
The predicted explosion this year of LCD TVs and the continued rise of notebooks is expected to swallow much of the lower-end panels, effectively killing off 15in LCD flat panels.
"We have our own brand of panels and this has helped our supply over the past six months," Farrah said. "But right now there is a serious shortage of 15in panels, which is starting to extend to the 17in space as well.
"Customers have had to make the choice of waiting for 15in panels to arrive or to move up to 17in models. Most have opted for trading up." [email protected]
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