In a year marked by economic turmoil, 2008 saw the total LCD monitor market across the business channels contract by 3.9% in absolute volume terms when compared to 2007.
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This is despite the average price of an LCD monitor falling £3 to £146 in the same period, leaving the value of the monitor market decreasing by a total of 5.7%. Combined, the business channels accounted for 56.3% of all units sold across the total market (business and consumer channels combined).
However, despite the decrease in absolute sales, the business channel saw an increase in total market share of 5% against 2007 - a somewhat positive aspect in an otherwise negative year. With absolute sales volume, value and price down, yet total market share up - what really happened in the business channels in 2008 for LCD monitors?
There was continued dominance of standard 4:3 aspect ratio monitors. Of units sold, 71% were of this "non-widescreen" format, with the market value slightly lower at 65%. This can be explained, perhaps, by the price decrease of the 17inch and 18-19inch screen sizes (£8 and £12 respectively), which together account for more than 90% of all the standard ratio LCD monitors sold. The non-widescreen format overall, across all sizes of screen, dropped £8.
Interestingly, despite 4:3 monitors having the lion's share of the market last year, standard format monitors suffered a 15% drop in volume compared to 2007.
Widescreen monitors (16:10, 16:9), which account for the remaining market share, grew by 15%, taking nearly 30% of all business channel monitor sales.
Unlike the standard screen formats, the value share of the widescreen monitor market is higher than that of its volume, standing at 35%.
This is completely understandable when you look at the breakdown of widescreen size share. The majority of widescreen monitors sold had screen sizes of 18-19inch and above.
This is in complete contrast to the standard screen formats, where nearly all units sold were 18-19inch and under.
The bigger widescreen monitors, the 22inch and the 24inch, proved a popular size choice in 2008. Absolute sales more than doubled, helped along by price decreases, particularly for the 24inch size where prices on average decreased by £63 to £370.
When looked at as a whole, the widescreen monitor market had an average price decrease of £18 from 2007, but because of the popularity of the larger more expensive screen sizes, it did not have as large an impact on the market value.
The desktop PC market, important for LCD monitors when you consider the strong relationship the two have, performed somewhat better than expectations in business channels.
A positive growth of desktop sales was recorded in the business channels in 2008, which was completely at odds with what was seen in the retail channels.
Although retail saw a 17% volume decline, sales of desktops on the business channel side actually increased by 12%.
As we observed earlier though, unfortunately this was not enough to prevent a decline in absolute sales of LCD monitors.
Looking forward to 2009, the monitor market could suffer at the hands of the all-in-one desktop, especially within retail channels, which accounts for the majority of sales.
Only 4% of desktops were all-in-one models in 2008, not a substantial chunk of the market, but with growth of more than 130% compared to 2007, it is clear that consumers are warming to the form factor.
Sian Davies is on the GfK IT Panel