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Old 08-16-2013, 06:26 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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E Ink net sales plunged 46% in Q2 2013, is still upbeat

A troubling sign for us e-paper lovers? E Ink yesterday announced its net sales to have dropped by 46% in Q2 2013 from its prior quarter. Yet, according to the investor conference held yesterday, things are not as gloomy as they might appear:

Quote:
E Ink was upbeat about this quarter's prospects.

"Customers have put off their new product launches to the third quarter from the second quarter,” company chief financial officer Eddie Chen told investors.

"There is enormous growth momentum to arrive in the third quarter. You will feel the [strength of] an upswing," Chen said.

This quarter, revenue is expected to at least double last quarter's NT$2.93 billion, as customers were scheduled to ship new e-readers for the holiday shopping season, Chen said.
Source: Taipei Times.

It's also reported that overall shipments of e-readers will remain flat compared to last year, with between 10 to 15 million units.

Further key points from the investor conference:
  • E-book and E-reader show significant growth in Western Europe and Asia Pacific markets. According to IHS, the combined e-reader market share in these markets has increased from 38% in 2011 to 54% in 2013.
  • Amazon Kindle has entered China and India markets.
  • Kobo eReader sales in 1Q13 was up 145% YoY. With the successful launch of AURA HD in US and Europe, Kobo will expand its direct distribution into China, India, Russia, etc.
  • Korea Epub will launch Crema Shine e-reader in South Korea in August
  • Market share of e-reader shipments: North America: 35%, Western Europe: 27%, Asia-Pacific: 27%, Latin America: 6%, MEA: 3%, Eastern Europe: 2%
  • E Ink Triton II colored e-paper Display won the "Outstanding Photonics Award" at Display Taiwan 2013
  • New: 13.3" E Ink Mobius Display on a Sony product

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Old 08-16-2013, 06:41 AM   #2
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I think they have to expect some slow down in sales in actual readers. I mean first of all e-ink readers like the Kindle are built to last for several years and are still at a price where a lot of people can't afford to get a new one before the old one is worn out. And not everyone can afford to buy one in the 1st place. I know when they 1st came out several yrs back I couldn't afford to buy one. I had to wait for the price to go down and people in some parts of the world don't make in a year what I have in one month. So I don't see how the sales of actual readers couldn't reach a point where sales slow down.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:49 AM   #3
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Very good point. It seems the "added value" of next-gen E Ink e-readers is a lot smaller than, let's say, the added value of next-gen tablets. That's by design, really, since e-readers are mainly used for one activity only...
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:57 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
Very good point. It seems the "added value" of next-gen E Ink e-readers is a lot smaller than, let's say, the added value of next-gen tablets. That's by design, really, since e-readers are mainly used for one activity only...
Yep. A new car can take you to anywhere. Work, home, to visit family, etc. But a specialized device like an e-reader is meant to do one thing primarily. If it did more first of all it'd be a lot less portable and 2ndly the price would go up as well. I have a cell phone for making calls, not for reading, taking pics or playing games. It's primary function is as a phone. The same goes for e-readers I think. People buy them to read. If they want to do other things there are android tablets that are much better for that.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:01 AM   #5
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For the non-geeky audience, that is to say: not us!, the question is really, "How many e-reader do I need?". Other than the frontlight, there haven't really been any innovations that make a new device an urgent purchase or, really, a reasonable one.

I'd not be surprised if the average "usage-span" of an e-ink reader was several times that of tablets or smartphones. It's one of those devices that you buy and then use for years without any pressure (or even incentive) to upgrade to new models frequently.

A tablet will always benefit from more CPU power, higher resolution, better battery life (or a fresh battery in case of the models where you can't replace it), more storage space, etc, and apps that you want but can't run are a steady reminder that it's time to upgrade.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:19 AM   #6
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For the non-geeky audience, that is to say: not us!, the question is really, "How many e-reader do I need?". Other than the frontlight, there haven't really been any innovations that make a new device an urgent purchase or, really, a reasonable one.
Other changes were more subtle (improved refresh rate, higher resolution, better contrast), but yes, nothing groundbreaking in terms of user experience.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:39 AM   #7
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Another thing to remember is that Q2 is the quarter right before Kobo and Amazon tend to release new readers. So of course people are not going to be buying readers in this quarter right before a new one is released. Apple has the same problem with the iPhone.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:42 AM   #8
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FWIW, stock is up.

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http://in.reuters.com/finance/stocks...ymbol=8069.TWO
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Old 08-16-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
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"Customers have put off their new product launches to the third quarter from the second quarter,” company chief financial officer Eddie Chen told investors.
That would be Nook finally tuning their product cycle to consumer habits.
(A good sign for them.)

eInk readers as a business shows strong seasonality, peaking in Q4 and totally tanking in the spring. Much like video game consoles.

NorthAm making up 35% of the eInk market? Good sign of international growth: not too long ago it was 75%.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:01 AM   #10
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All though it's not as sexy a demographic, I always wonder why more advertising dollars aren't aimed at the aging-eyes demographic, especially in the low sales fiscal quarter, when the more technically savvy have learned to wait for the next generation devices.

I was watching the QVC broadcasts when they were offering the Nook HD and the HD+ as their daily Special Values, and those things were flying out of there, mainly to people who either were first-time buyers or who already had an e-reader and were buying it as a gift for another family member.

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Old 08-16-2013, 12:36 PM   #11
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Another thing to remember is that Q2 is the quarter right before Kobo and Amazon tend to release new readers. So of course people are not going to be buying readers in this quarter right before a new one is released. Apple has the same problem with the iPhone.
Another good point.
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
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Sales can't rise exponentially forever. Eventually they will plateau to a fairly steady level where most sales come from replacement of worn out units with a few people buying second units for some added feature (most will wait until their current reader dies). What's wrong with a strong steady market? It would scarcely be a disaster for the companies. For mature markets like say TV's the percentage of people owning one does not change greatly from year to year.
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
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What's wrong with a strong steady market?
Nothing is wrong with that but that would mean that the Ebook revolution came to an end now, at least with Eink deveices: No new users anymore.
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:06 PM   #14
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Nothing is wrong with that but that would mean that the Ebook revolution came to an end now, at least with Eink deveices: No new users anymore.
I'm not certain of that, I'm I new E-ink user. The word just doesn't get out there.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:04 PM   #15
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Nothing is wrong with that but that would mean that the Ebook revolution came to an end now, at least with Eink deveices: No new users anymore.
Eink readers are always going to have a limited market because the customer has to do enough reading to justify the cost of one and those customers need to justify an ereader over a general purpose device (or even an LCD based ereader). As long as E Ink recognizes this when planning, the company (thus the displays) will continue to be available and all will be well for us.
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