Bad sign for e-readers? E Ink sales plunge

Here’s a sign that e-readers are struggling in the U.S.: E Ink Holdings, the Taiwan-based company that makes e-reader screens for companies such as Amazon (s AMZN), Barnes & Noble (s BKS) and Sony (s SNE), just had its worst quarter in four years. The company saw a net loss of NT $1.01 billion (USD $33.7 million) for the second quarter of 2013, and revenues were down 35 percent over the previous year to NT $2.93 billion (USD $98 million).
Market research companies have been forecasting the death of e-readers for awhile now as more consumers buy tablets. Nonetheless, E Ink Holdings sees growth ahead as e-readers become more popular outside the United States. “Customers [i.e., e-reader manufacturers] have put off their new product launches to the third quarter from the second quarter,” CFO Eddie Chen said (via the Taipei Times). In an investor presentation (PDF), E Ink noted that it sees increasing demand for e-readers in Western Europe and Asia, and pointed to the Kindle’s launches in China and India.
Still, the Taipei Times reports that “[to] reduce the impact of tablets, E Ink is seeking new growth areas in developing new e-paper applications such as displays for digital magazines, smart watches, handset covers and luggage tags” — but those are expected to make up less than 5 percent of the company’s revenues by the end of this year, whereas e-reader displays accounted for 70 percent of revenues in the last quarter. And the company said e-reader shipments this year will be between 10 and 15 million — flat compared to last year.
via MobileRead