LG’s plans to start mass production of OLED TV panels at a new factory in Paju, South Korea, have been delayed yet again.
The TV brand has had to repeatedly postpone plans for the factory to get up and running, with an initial production start date of 2021-2022 first pushed back to 2023, and this latest delay pushing that back as late as 2025-2026.
So what’s the issue? Lockdown measures and a global pandemic have predictably been bad for business, with market instability no doubt restricting the number of impulse purchases on high-end television technologies.
The widespread closure of retail stores has likely had an impact, too. The best argument for buying an OLED TV is getting to see it in action for yourself, and the natural showmanship of OLED’s impressive picture quality is harder to relate in the abstract.
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Show me the money
This news comes alongside LG’s preliminary earnings for the second quarter of 2020, reporting that “Sales are expected to be 17.9 percent lower and operating income down 24.4 percent from the same quarter the previous year.”
That’s a large hit to finances, especially given the hopes that OLED TV demand would be growing year on year.
Back in April, market analyst Omdia (previously IHS Markit) forecast that only 3.5 million OLED TV units would ship in 2020 – down from an initial forecast of 5.5 million.
Most TV brands are likely to be seeing a similar impact on their sales, especially for high-end sets. Moves towards more affordable models, as with Panasonic’s new HZ980 OLED, or the incoming BX OLED from LG, could help matters. The best thing for any potential OLED TV buyer, though, may be to look for a 2019 model that has yet to sell out – given the cost will be significantly lower than a 2020 successor.
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