Overall, the market is poised for increase in unit shipments in the medium-term and long-term, with strong growth coming from the emerging regions including China, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. However, mature markets such as North America and Western Europe, which continue to dominate the market currently, are expected to lose their shares to the emerging regions.
While the adoption of flat panel displays is on the rise across various sub-application areas, Retail segment continues to demonstrate strength in digital signage LCD and PDP technology accounting for 36% of the total digital signage LCD and PDP shipments in Q4 2013 with 416.8K units. Retail segment is where most of the digital signage installations are taking place, especially in retail stores and Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). We expect Retail segment to grow by 6% and account for 1.7 million units in 2014 for flat panel digital signage technologies. By 2018, we forecast unit shipments to reach 2.3 million. In terms of revenue, Retail constitutes 20% share for digital signage LCD and PDP.
Talking about the trends in retail segment, there is a growing trend for touch screen interactive displays. Interactive displays are gaining popularity as they can engage with the audience and offer access to information which increases awareness as well as sales. On the other hand, in the last few years there has been a tremendous development in the way QSR industry operates. Traditional printed menu boards are being replaced with digital menu boards. In QSRs digital end, marketers are using the technology for automating inventory control, ordering, suggestive selling, and reducing customers’ perceived wait time at the counter.
Future trends suggest that store and restaurant owners will include QR codes for consumers to scan with their mobile devices and engage with the brand. Display manufacturers are looking at transparent displays market as the next big opportunity within retail as shopping malls and vending machine applications offer a bright spot for this technology.
While the retail sector remains the prime end-user of flat panel digital signage technologies, other application areas such as government/corporate, transportation and public spaces and hospitality/healthcare are forecast to generate steam in the upcoming years.
Government/corporate and hospitality/healthcare sub-applications collectively make up 33% of flat panel digital signage unit shipments in Q4 2013. In 2014, we forecast hospitality/healthcare to deploy 877.3K units, and government/corporate to account for 704.7K units. Latest trends in corporate suggest popularity of all-in-one touchscreens as they are more engaging than traditional enterprise tools and more attractive to workers who are used to using consumer touch-based devices like tablets and smartphones. Digital signs are making headway in hospitality/healthcare space, mainly in lobbies for information dissemination and promotion purpose, and for way-finding. By 2018, IHS expects hospitality/healthcare and government/corporate to reach 888K and 1.2 million units, respectively.
Although there are several new entrants in the market, Samsung and LGE continue to hold over 50% of the unit market share for digital signage LCD and PDP displays, and expand their product portfolio. Earlier this year, Samsung introduced a new 2014 D Series line up, tiered in three product lines, and announced its upcoming line of 4K displays, to name a few. LGE launched a series of digital signage products including its first 84-inch class UHD 4K digital signage display, 47WX50MF outdoor display featuring their IPS panel technology, ultra wide signage model 29WR30, WS10 and WS50 series with IPS panels.
Overall, IHS forecasts worldwide signage and professional displays market to grow at a steady pace and surpass 20.0 million units by 2018. Lowering cost of liquid crystal display (LCD), improvements in technology, ease of installation, and increasing adoption of digital signage in corporate, retail, education, transportation, and hospitality segments will help fuel the growth in 2014 and beyond.