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NPD: 4K Smartphones, Desktop Monitors to Flourish

4 Feb, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The hype surrounding 4K is far from over, with the next-generation HD resolution set to infiltrate televisions, programming, subscription streaming, desktop computers and now smartphones.

In 2015, the first year that 4K, or ultra-high-definition (UHD), smartphones become available to consumers, global shipments are forecast to reach 23 million units, according to The NPD Group. 4K displays will account for more than 5% of smartphone shipments in North America and Japan in 2015, and just under 5% in Western Europe.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014. With a three-year compound annual growth rate of 13%, shipments will rise to 1.7 billion units by 2017. Although entry-level smartphones priced below $200 will account for 35% of total smartphone shipments in 2014, the average display resolution will continue to increase globally.

Global shipments of smartphones with HD and full-high-definition (FHD) screens are forecast to reach 570 million units in 2014. 2K displays (also known as wide-quad-HD) shipments are also expected to reach significant levels. NPD forecasts 41 million units will ship in 2014.

AUO, JDI, Samsung, and other display-panel manufacturers already have 2K displays in production, and applications processor and GPU (graphic processor unit) vendors have products ready to support and handle display resolution beyond 1080p.

All told, smartphones with HD and higher display resolution will comprise over 50% of global shipments in 2014, up from 29% in 2013.

“Market growth for smartphones with high-definition screens is being fueled by increasingly affordable application processors, which along with increased production of high-resolution smartphone displays, are enabling brands to provide greater resolution and lower power consumption at lower prices,” Tina Teng, senior analyst for smartphones at NPD, said in a statement. “In the maturing smartphone ecosystem consumers can expect far better visual performance and improved gaming experience.”

Separately, thanks to falling production costs leading to declines in average selling prices, shipments of 4K desktop monitor displays are expected to increase beginning next year. Even as overall desktop monitor demand falls to 133 million units in 2014, 4K UHD monitor shipments will reach two million units, and by 2017 shipments are forecast to reach approximately 8% of the market.

Initial 4K monitors from Sharp, ASUS, Dell and other brands include 23.8-inch, 28-inch and 31.5-inch sizes. With many 4K monitors smaller than 30 inches launching in 2014, 27 inches is expected to be the average 4K monitor display size.

The average selling price for 4K monitors is forecast to decline from $1,347 in 2014 to $927 in 2017.

“Increased 4K-class monitor shipment volume will depend on how far and how fast ASPs decline,” Hidetoshi Himuro, director of PC and IT research at NPD, said in a statement. “Although manufacturers hope to raise prices for 4K-enabled monitors, price competition has already begun.”


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