Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the worldwide market information experts on front projectors, is poised to release the results of their worldwide Q1 census of front projector shipments.
“Ever since flat panel displays became large enough to be used in business meeting rooms and home theaters there have been predictions of the demise of projectors from manufacturers--of both projectors and flat panels--as well as pundits, the press, etc.,” said Dr. William Coggshall, President of PMA.
“Of course, ANY industry experiences a slowing of growth as it ages and increasingly saturates its potential market ... whether or not it has strong competition from alternative technologies. The projector industry is over 20 years old, so the 6% growth rate measured by PMA's comprehensive worldwide quarterly census is strong proof that the projector business is healthy. Of course, we all know some markets and applications that are moving to flat panels, and PMA is tracking these moves and taking them into account in our forecasts.”
To survive, any industry needs to innovate and change, so, like a sports team, it needs a strong offence. Some recent examples of this offense are developments in short-throw projectors, interactive projectors, PC-free presentations, and solid state illumination (laser, LED, and hybrid).
But a sports team also needs a strong defence. On June 12 Dr. Coggshall will make a presentation at the Projection Summit 2012 conference titled "Playing Defence in the 2012 Projector Business", and is now previewing the reasons that some--or many--projector manufacturers might need to seek better defensive strategy and tactics than they now have.
1. Unlike most other industries, where prospective new entrants to an industry do their homework by looking at the size of the market and the number and strength of competitors before jumping in, a lot of companies apparently neglected this step, leading to too many big fish in too small a pond. The natural response to this over-competition is to cut prices, so that many manufacturers are now making less-than-desired profits.
2. As in many high-tech product categories mostly manufactured in Asia, projector manufacturers have focused too heavily on market share as measured in UNITS. That was fine in the early days when annual growths were triple- and double-digit, but not today when growths are single-digit. Now they should be focusing on PROFITS, or at least REVENUES.
3. Compared with the potential offered by projector technology, the projector industry has not been very creative in exploiting it fully.
- The ranges of sizes (and portability) and prices generally exceeds those of flat panel displays (FPDs) but the projector market has lagged the FPD market substantially in units growth, though currently apparently not in profits.
- Projector manufacturers--like FPD manufacturers--have focused on too few "sweet spots" that are now commoditized, with resultant over-competition and price-cutting.
- New projector models are so similar to old ones that there is little reason for users to replace their old ones.
- Overall the industry has been doing things the same old way for too long, and has been so risk-averse it has missed opportunities.