The OLED panel market is expected to register a CAGR of 12.9% over the forecast period (2021 - 2026). OLED continues to be a significant display technology trend, with larger screen sizes, improved 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) resolution, and relatively new form factors. Companies, like Samsung and LG, experimented with flexible OLED displays for quite some time. Samsung, in particular, uses curved flexible OLED panels for all of its flagship devices now.
- Due to multiple advantages with viewing angles and black levels, OLED Televisions are surging in demand in several regions. According to the ICDM, in qualifying a TV resolution, contrast modulation is more critical than pure pixel count, and OLED TV displays cater to this specific demand
- Based on market diffusion models, flexible OLEDs are anticipated to observe a high market penetration in the foreseen period. With the maturity of smartphones in many significant markets, such as China, smartphone manufacturers are developing new, foldable phone models that incorporate flexible OLEDs and further have a massive potential for growth over the next few years.
- Mass production enables companies to reach economies of scale, thereby benefiting the device manufacturers to reduce the overall price of the device. Currently, only a few TV manufacturers use OLEDs, as the technology is considered too expensive for the mid-range market. Many fitness bands and simple smartwatch devices adopt PMOLED displays.
- For instance, Fitbit's Charge band uses a small monochrome (white) PMOLED display. Factors, like thickness, flexibility, and appearance of OLED display, make it a favorable technology for wearable applications over LCDs. Wearable devices, which are expected to reach 929 billion by 2021, are likely to drive the market further, along with other lighting applications in the automotive and healthcare industries.
- Further, based on simple deterministic extrapolation, the demand for quantum dots-based OLED display panels is anticipated to surge exponentially in the forecast period.
- In 2020, initially, 476 million smartphone OLEDs were estimated to be shipped from Korea and 128 million from China, which would be more than double China's total from last year. However, the coronavirus outbreak causes a shortâ€term setback for Chinese smartphone OLED makers.
Key Market Trends
AMOLED Display in Smartphone is Expected to Witness High Growth
- The OLED panel requires no additional backlighting, and it is emissive, due to which, it overshadows the flat panel displays traditionally used in smartphones. Additionally, owing to the superior properties, such as less thickness and bright output, mobile manufacturers have been increasingly incorporating AMOLED panels in their product, which is likely to drive the market growth.
- An AMOLED uses a TFT with a storage capacitor that maintains the line pixel states and enables large-sized and large resolution displays. In 2019, over 575 million AMOLED screens were produced, mostly to satisfy the demand from mobile phone vendors.
- In its iPhone X, Apple, one of the prominent smartphone producers, employed flexible AMOLED alongside its super retina display technology, which led to the shift in the smartphone industry. It is likely to strengthen the adoption of these panels across the sector, thereby further driving the market growth.
- Additionally, Samsung, one of the leaders in the OLED panels market, incorporates AMOLED and Super AMOLED display technologies in most of its smartphones. The company is now focusing more on flexible OLED panels than LCD.
- Further, the Chinese panel maker, BOE, expanded its sixth-generation AMOLED production as the penetration rate of OLED panels in smartphones is progressing. However, as the smartphone market has become saturated, BOE's investment may lead to further lead to competitive pricing for small-sized OLED panels.
Asia-Pacific Occupies the Largest Market Share
- Asia-Pacific is the biggest market for OLED panels as most of the key players, including LG, and Samsung, have their manufacturing facilities in the region. Additionally, several TV manufacturers, signage display manufacturers, and other vendors have their headquarters in the APAC region.
- Due to the trade war between the United States and China, a large portion of the budget planned by the Chinese government is percolating into the display industry. In contrast, the semiconductor industry, which is one of the intensive investment promotion industries, foreshadows difficulties.
- Despite its small size, South Korea invests in the academic R&D for OLED technology. The country is witnessing huge investments from electronics giants, like LG and Samsung.
- Further, Samsung closed its 8.5 generation production line in 2019, and it moving its focus to QD-OLED panels in acknowledgment of the price competition. LG is also planning to expand its OLED production capacities in China and Korea, targeting large-sized TV displays.
- China is the global hub for manufacturing. It is one of the largest exporters of consumer goods, and it is the fastest-growing consumer market in the world. The country boasts of the world's largest television market. For instance, LG is planning to collaborate with the retailers and TV makers in China to expand its OLED panel business. The sales of OLED display panels are expected to grow exponentially in the region.
- Amidst the COVID-19 situation, many electronic manufacturing companies in China are faced with the difficulty of being unable to obtain adequate production capacity from both fabs and package suppliers. If this production slowdown remains for an extended period, these companies may face bankruptcy or acquisition.â€‹
- Further, with the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) and original design manufacturing (ODM) companies facing challenges regarding the lower number of workers returning work, the market is anticipated to witness severe challenges in the second quarter and third quarter of 2020.
The OLED panel market is highly fragmented and competitive because of the presence of many players conducting business on a national and an international scale. Also, panel manufacturers are investing in alternative technologies for various players, which is showcasing an intense rivalry among the players. The major players in the market are Samsung Display Co. Ltd, LG Display Co. Ltd, and Sony Corporation. Recent developments are:
- Jun 2019 - LG Display announced the launch of a transparent OLED commercial display in the United States. It is a razor-thin see-through display designed to deliver a special customer experience in commercial applications, like retail and hospitality signage.
- Aug 2019 - Samsung Electronics announced that it reduced the LCD production at its Asan factory, about 100 kilometers south of Seoul, to prepare for large-scale investment in quantum dot (QD) OLED panels of hybrid display that uses both OLED and quantum dot technology.
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