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EnergyTrend: Tablet PC Releases Pushed up Polymer Battery Inventory Level, Cell Price up over 5% in 2Q11

published: 2011-07-04 17:43

As consumer electronic products become thinner and lighter, the importance of polymer battery has also become the focus in 2011. According to EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, since the supply from Japanese and Korean makers is limited, polymer battery price has sharply increased by more than 5% in 2Q11. In addition, the average shipment of Taiwanese battery pack manufacturers has grown over 30%. Polymer battery was mainly adopted in high-end products such as Apple’s products in the past. With a rapid increase in tablet PC product development in the market, application of polymer battery in the other brands starts to expand. EnergyTrend predicts, the annual growth rate of polymer battery price will reach at least 10% in 2011, which is a rare opportunity for the battery industry to raise price.

Cylindrical Battery Market and Polymer Battery Markets Show Varied Demands

EnergyTrend forecasts that there is a 5%~10% oversupply in the cylindrical battery market in 2011(Chart 1). In contrary, since there is a consistent increase in demand for tablet PCs and ultra thin notebook, polymer battery demand rocketed. It has shown that sellers become a price maker, no matter what unit price trend or market trend show. The market turned into a sell’s market where higher demand than existing supply leads to seller advantage over unit price.

Tablet PCs Launches Increased Demand of 2Q11

Due to various releases of tablet PCs since March 2011, polymer battery inventory has generally increased subsequently. In addition, according to EnergyTrend’s research, the shipment of each battery pack manufacturer in the second quarter has sharply increased by 25%~50%. It has shown that each battery pack manufacturers have reach full capacity utilization (Chart 2).

Cost Analysis of Component Breakdown

In terms of unit price, polymer battery pack costs as much as a cylindrical battery pack. However, the polymer battery cell accounts for a larger portion of the total cost, over 70% of the total cost are from battery cell in the polymer battery pack, followed by housing, which account for over 10% of the total cost. The rest is comprised of IC and carrier board (Chart 3).

In summary, EnergyTrend indicates that the polymer cell market trend of 2H11 is as follows:
1. Polymer cell has drawn much attention since the releases of tablet PCs in March 2011. Brand vendors are aggressively increasing their polymer battery inventory in the second quarter. EnergyTrend estimates that battery supplier advantage market will last till 3Q11. 
2. The unit price of polymer cell battery pack and cylindrical battery pack is the same. However, the cost of polymer cell accounts for a higher percentage of the total cost than the cost cylindrical cell does, and polymer battery greatly require customization. If polymer cell demand continue to grow, but the capacity utilization can not keep up with the product demand, it is estimated that an increase in polymer cell price will strike again.

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