Shortage of LED components limits LCD growth

A dearth of components for LED backlights is slowing down the growth of sales of LCDs causing prices to stay higher but slowing down the number of shipments.

According to Displaysearch, LED is the main light source for all LCD applications as it offers slimmer designs, lower power consumption and better display performance. This graph shows Displaysearch’s backlit unit penetration rate for 10-inch TFT LCDs.

LED backlit penetration

But there are shortages of optical polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) used in light guide plates, sapphire for LED wafer substrates, and white polyester for reflector film.

And the manufacturers are to blame for the shortage because they failed to see the shortages coming when they made their LED TV panel forecasts.

Kevin Kwak, a research director at Displaysearch, said: “PMMA and PET are in significant shortage…and suppliers are slowly expanding capacity since they need time to add new plants and face financial limitations.”

One of the reasons for the shortages is that reflector film suppliers faced demands from LCD and solar cell applications. Many LED makers also face shortages of sapphire substrates.

The Displaysearch graph here shows supply and demand forecasts for PETs.

PET shortages