IHS says that they expect flexible OLED sales to reach $21.9 million in 2013 and grow quickly to almost $100 million in 2014. The flexible OLED market will continue growing at a very fast rate as it will reach almost $4 billion by 2018 and almost $12 billion by 2020.

This is a very aggressive forecast. IHS says that they expect flexible OLEDs to bring about an "unprecedented change in flat displays". Those displays will make an "innovative change in the conventional display industry structure once commercialized". The first products will be plastic-based OLEDs which are thin and durable. Rollable and foldable OLEDs are forecasted to be introduced after 2016.

There are still technological hurdles to be overcome though, before flexible OLEDs will fully replace rigid OLEDs - better plastic substrates, thin-film encapsulation and better manufacturing processes.

According to the latest reports from Korea, Samsung and LG will begin flexible OLED production in November. Their combined capacity will be around a million displays a month. If this is true, then about 2 million displays will be produced in 2013, which probably translates to more than $20 million (analysts expect the first displays to be 5" ones, which will surely cost more than $10 a piece!).

On the other hand, if Samsung and LGD do manage to start production in November or so, it's likely that capacity in 2014 will be at least 6 times the capacity in 2013 (we'll have 12 months of production and not just two), so revenues should reach indeed over $100 million.

If we take the long-term view though, I agree with IHS that flexible OLEDs can revolutionize the entire display industry. Growth will be limited to the number of displays LGD and Samsung (and others such as AUO, Visionox and NVO) can actually produce and this market can indeed grow quickly to billions of dollars.

Samsung 5'' curved YOUM display prototype

Cambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDsCambridge Isotope Laboratories - Deutreated Reagents and High-Purity Gases for OLEDs