Would you like to pay £250 for a laptop screen?
When we first started selling LCD panels in 2006, we were buying 15.4 inch standard WXGA screens, which were the de facto standard at the time for most laptops - at a cost of around £200 a panel. 10 years later and a standard 15.6 inch screen can be picked up for around £10 each if you buy enough of them.
That's a shocking difference in cost, and it's come about for many reasons but the two primary ones are volumes of LCDs produced and the quality of the LCDs - which in my opinion has fallen dramatically over the years. As LCD makers produce more, they also find ways to cut production costs, and over the past decade, the average cost of an LCD panel has fallen by some 20 times! In recent times it has got to the point whereby they are producing and distributing screens to resellers for the same cost as a kebab and chips.
This all sounds exciting for the consumer market because people simply love cheap.
However it's not sustainable and for several reasons the cost of LCDs has been rising in recent months.
1) The value of the Pound
As you may or may not be aware, the UK's referendum on European Union membership has shaved the value of the pound down by quite a bit. It's now worth almost the same as a Euro and not much more than a dollar. Previously the Pound has been worth 1.5 and at times nearly 2 times the Dollar.
As we have to purchase screens in Dollars, small fluctuations in the exchange rate between the pound and the dollar can have a knock on effect on large purchases. We're finding prices are rising for us with our suppliers, as our buying power is now slightly dinminised due to Brexit.
2) Many LCD types are now becoming hard to find.
40 Pin LVDS screens are still extremely popular, however they are not in production anymore. Prices for these are now rising as supply cannot meet demands. At times we are finding ourselves bidding against other LCD suppliers to secure stock.
3) China artificially tries to supress it's economy to boost exports.
This situation which is deliberately instigated by the Chinese central banking system, to boost exports such as LCD panels at the lowest prices - is unstable. There could be a market crash coming to China very soon, which may also push up the prices of LCD panels. This is exemplified by unfair working conditions and terrible pay for the people who actually produce these parts. However the Chinese abuse-style of workers, and unfair wages - so we can enjoy super cheap electronics could be coming to an end soon.
Personally I think this is a good thing, It's about time these poor people were paid properly for the production of these parts.
Prices are on the rise for LCD parts, however as we hold large stocks - we are still shipping stock at older prices, but you should expect to see some rises in costs of LCD parts over the coming 12 months. We will obviously do all we can to maintain competitive pricing and our usual excellent quality.