The fourth quarter of 2014 is typically the busy season for touch panel makers. In China alone, makers experienced 9.8%, 7.1% and 2.5% sequential increases in the handset, tablet and notebook segments but will see declines of 17.9%, 24.8% and 13.4% respectively heading into the first quarter of 2015 as the industry enters the slow season, according to Digitimes Research.
In the fourth quarter tablet applications saw some of the largest growth as vendors in China increased orders with local makers. Notebook touch panel shipments on the other hand were amongst the lowest of the figures as a number of metal mesh orders to O-Film were shifted to Taiwan makers. Heading into the first quarter of 2015, makers will see a decline as white-box brands fade from the market while orders for notebook applications will only see minor declines as new orders from Lenovo are still expected to be distributed to supply chains.
In terms of makers, Truly has entered the Sony supply chain to supply OGS solutions for handsets in hope to make up for losses incurred from orders being shifted to Samsung. EELY meanwhile is continuing to cooperate with Samsung, but is shifting the cooperation from tablet developments to smartphone applications, which contributed to the maker's 19.3% decline in tablet touch panel shipments during the third quarter of 2014. However, the company will see the lowest sequential decline in the first quarter of 2015 at 12% due to orders from Samsung, said Digitimes Research.