Samsung is the winner for the second year running. HP is at number two, pushing IBM down to third spot. Philips also joins the Users' Choice Club. HP at number two and IBM at number three seem to be a part of a larger trend, of system brands becoming stronger than pure-play monitor brands. We are seeing evidence of this in the personal monitor category as well.
How hot is the LCD market? Last year, 51 percent of the respondents claimed that they already had at least one LCD monitor, and 37 percent were planning to buy one in the immediate future. This year, those already owning LCD monitors have gone up to 72 percent and those intending to buy, to 92 percent. Out of this, the highest is in the North, followed by the West. South is strangely low on intent to buy LCD monitors.
HP is building up a strong franchise in ITES/BPO. It had built up strong numbers here with PCs and notebooks, and that story continues with LCD monitors as well.
Lending credence to our theory about system brands overpowering monitor brands is the fact that HP and IBM have more brand loyalty than Samsung and LG! Samsung would make the most of its gains from brands that did not make it to the Users' Choice Club and from HP, and would lose slightly higher numbers to LG, compared to other brands. For LG, on the other hand, HP offers the biggest threat, followed by Samsung.
If you remove HP from the matrix, then the picture is more or less similar to what we had last year.
If our premise is true, if system vendors are gaining advantage over pure-play monitor vendors, the latter will have a tough time against system vendors and umbrella, big-spender brands, Samsung and LG. As with CRT monitors, the best way out for them would be through deals with other system vendors.