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Industry expects a plasma market explosion

After margins on CRT and LCD monitors spiralled out of control last year, a raft of industry players have talked up the market...

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After margins on CRT and LCD monitors spiralled out of control last year, a raft of industry players have talked up the market potential for plasma displays in 2002.

Although the price of plasma products has moved southwards over the past 12 months, with a reduction in price of between 30 and 40 per cent, dealers can still expect a healthy margin.

A combination of price drops is being accompanied by a shift of focus to plasma screens by vendors trying to make up money lost in the TFT price war.

"We expect plasma sales to overtake CRT by mid-2003 and we are well on track," said Brian Gammage, principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest.

"There have been some major deployments taking place, especially in the business markets," he added.

But Nick Culley, product marketing director at Midwich, argued consumers would also become an increasingly important target sector as lower price points help make the products more attractive.

In anticipation of the plasma boom, Culley revealed it was making a significant investment in a fleet of specialist vehicles called Razor Back, specifically designed to deliver the products.

"We had problems with the large national carriers so we decided to use our dedicated plasma resource to tackle the issue," he said.

The corporate market could experience up to 100 per cent growth next year and the IT channel would be mad to miss out, commented Richard Scammell, account manager at NEC Plasma Display.

He suggested the products used to require specialist handling from the AV channel, but said that "the products are now plug and play, so they are easier to use and easier to sell, and users are more educated".

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