Monitor manufacturers are desperately dumping 14-inch stock in the UK to clear massive inventories of products that in two months are not going to be VESA standard. Demands for 15-inch monitors and increasing competition from manufacturers are also helping to force drastic cuts in pricing.
Prices for 14-inch screens are falling through the floor with some manufacturers quoting prices of less than £80 for a 14-inch colour screen. Blame is being put squarely at the door of a number of Far Eastern companies who have been caught with a lot of stock on their hands and having to rely on a 30 day wait for shipment from the Far East, during which time, manufacturing and street prices have changed again.
VESA, which stands for the Video Electronics Standards Association has issued a new standard which demands that the minimum monitor refresh rate should be 85Hz, and it will come into play in two months. Two companies, Smile and Viewsonic claim to currently have products which meet the new standard, but more will soon follow from other vendors, when old stocks have been reduced.
Smile sales account manager Warren Miller denied that his company is dumping product and blames other firms such as ADI Systems. "ADI is discounting heavily," he said, "and has to clear over 200,000 units before it can re-design for the new VESA standard."
ADI denies it is part of the current dumping frenzy. "It's not true," said Matthew Gillard, ADI's UK marketing coordinator. "We are not responding to the VESA announcement by dumping. In fact we are one of the few who aren't."
Gillard put some of the blame at the door of Far Eastern rival Samsung, saying that the arrival of new models has resulted in Samsung dropping the price of its SyncMaster 3 range significantly.
Aaron Fright, monitor product marketing manager at Samsung also denied the dumping charges. "With our Winyard manufacturing facility we can respond to the market quickly and don't have the problem of the 30 day time delay while product is being shipped to the UK."
Fright himself blamed the Taiwanese, adding that the price pressures could force a number of smaller Taiwanese companies out of the 14-inch market. "People are suffering," he said. "They can't be making money."
The 14-inch market is saturated, even more so since the arrival of top German brand Maxdata in the UK. Fright doesn't see Maxdata as a threat to Samsung but suggested that it added to the overall competitive pressure on the market.
Gillard added that the 15-inch market is also growing at the expense of the 14-inch, "and with 15 to 20 monitor makers competing for the UK market, severe price pressure is inevitable."