In case you didn't realize, the rise of laptops and tablets have put a serious dent in the sale of standalone PC monitors. And now sales are declining at a faster rate than they had been in recent years.
Meko, a European display market researcher, found that monitor sales dropped by 13.6 percent last quarter in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, compared to the same period last year. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of decline, and the rate of decline is increasing. Consumer sales took the brunt of the impact.
In North America, market researcher DisplaySearch has observed a similar free-fall. Monitor sales dropped by 15 percent year-over-year last quarter, after increasing by just under 1 percent between 2009 and 2010, DisplaySearch analyst Chris Connery told PCWorld. Those numbers include monitors that are bundled with desktop PCs.
The drop in monitor sales was not unanticipated, Connery said, and not just because of laptops and tablets. Without big technology changes, such as the move from CRT to flat-panel, or from 4:3 to widescreen, desktop PC owners don't really need to go out and get a new display. "There's still a market for upgrades for monitors, but no super-compelling reason for consumers to just buy monitors these days," Connery said.
Despite the lost sales, the average selling price of monitors hasn't really changed, Connery said. Even LED-backlit displays, which were supposed to raise average selling prices, have been coming in at similar prices to CCFL-backlit LCD monitors. "Almost regardless of price point, demand is not going to be there," Connery said.
DisplaySearch still sees a role for standalone monitors in the home. Connery envisions "smart monitors" that connect to the Internet or to other computing devices, acting as a kind of hub for when users need a larger screen. "We don't see it completely disappearing, but this concept of a monitor is going to change," Connery said.