Along with graphics cards, display panel shipment is a bellwether for how the PC industry is doing, and when it comes to notebooks, its one of the best ways to judge the temperature of the market.
Analysts at IHS claim that July saw a precipitous drop in LCD panel shipments as eight of the nine leading mobile PC brands reduced their LCD panel purchases. This resulted in a global market shipments decline of 23 percent year-over-year.
In real terms, panel shipments in July totaled 14.9 million units, down from 19.3 million during the same month in 2012, claims a new report by IHS.
Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba all cut demand compared to July 2012, with Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell and Toshiba reducing orders by double-digit percentages.
Acer saw the biggest decline as its orders in July, down 53 percent compared to June. The next biggest drop was at Toshiba, down 43 percent, with Lenovo seeing a 35 percent fall.
Of the top panel buyers only one company increased demand, and that was Apple. According to IHS, the Cupertino company increased panel demand in order to be able to keep up with demand for the MacBook Air.
Apple's demand for panels grew by 76 percent, with 1.8 million units ordered.
"Notebook brands during the third quarter typically increase their purchases of LCD panels as they prepare to launch new mobile PC models for the second half of the year," said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. "However, many key brands this year have accumulated large panel inventory surpluses because of weak sales in the first half. This has caused them to reduce purchases in July, leading to major declines in notebook PC panel market shipments both on a sequential and an annual basis."
The bad month follows a bad year for the PC industry with worldwide mobile PC shipments estimated to have fallen by 5.1 percent during the second quarter, compared to the first three months of the year