According to the latest research from the WitsView research division of TrendForce, the 2019 shipment of gaming monitors (defined by WitsView as monitors with frame rate over 100Hz) is estimated at up to 8.5 million units, a 57% growth YoY, compared to 2018 figures. With the diversification of panel types and monitor models from different brands, the growth momentum of this industry is expected to continue well into the next few years, with projected shipment of 11-12 million units in 2020.
Anita Wang, senior research manager at TrendForce, indicates that the number of gaming monitor panel suppliers grew in 2019. In addition to existing mainstays such as SDC, LGD, AUO, Innolux, and BOE, new entrants CSOT and CEC Panda began mass production in 2019 and became part of the gaming monitor supply chain. The increase in the number of suppliers represents a corresponding increase in the supply of gaming monitor panels, which brought the panel and retail price down to more consumer-friendly levels and subsequently increased product adoption rates.
In terms of LCD panel types, owing to the popularity of curved gaming monitors in 2019, the market share of VA panels grew significantly. On the other hand, the development of fast-response liquid crystals enabled IPS panels to have improved response times and become more widely adopted in gaming monitors. As fast-response IPS panels gain traction in the market, the technology penetration rate of IPS panels is projected to reach 15-20% in 2020, an increase from the 10% rate in 2019.
An analysis of gaming monitors shows that curved gaming monitors rose to prominence in 2018 because of their excellent cost-performance ratio. Brands such as AOC/Philips, Samsung, and MSI made a proactive push to expand the gaming hardware market through their curved gaming monitors in 2019. This raised the share of curved gaming monitors in the overall gaming monitor market to about 60% and successfully increased the three brands’ shipment of gaming products in 2019. In particular, MSI continued to expand and diversify its mid-sized and large-sized product lines in an effort to maintain its high growth momentum in 2020.
Aside from maintaining shipment growth, another area of focus for panel manufacturers and monitor brands is quality improvement. For instance, the smallest curvature of curved gaming monitors currently available is 1500R, with 1000R products to be released in 2020. MSI and Samsung are the two brands with the most active efforts in developing curved gaming monitors; the two companies are expected to release curved gaming monitors at CES 2020. In addition, gaming monitor brands are ramping up product lines in the high-end gaming market. For instance, Dell beat its competitors to market with OLED gaming monitors, while Asus and Acer focus on developing Mini LED gaming monitors. HP – along with Asus and Acer – has released BFGD products as well. The product development and market acceptance in the high-end gaming monitor segment remains an important area of concern in the future.