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The transparent OLED lighting market
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UBI Research estimates that the OLED market will reach $32.2 billion in revenues, up from 13.8% from 2018. UBI says the the growth will come from new applications - including foldable smartphone displays, 8K OLED TVs and rollable OLED TVs. Increased yields by Chinese AMOLED makers will also contribute to the growth.
AMOLED revenues in Q4 2018 reached $7.9 billion (down 3.7% from Q3 2018 and 10.4% from Q4 2017). In the whole of 2018, revenues reached $28.3 billion, up 7.1% from 2017 ($26.4 billion). UBI sees the oversupply in the flexible OLED market to continue as high prices prevent adoption in mid-end smartphones.
At CES 2019, LG Electronics announced its first rollable TV (and the world's first rollable OLED device), the 65" Signature OLED TV R. Market analysts from IHS estimate that producing each 65" rollable OLED TV will cost over $3,000 - more than three times the cost of production of LG's regular 65" OLED TV panels.
LG's new TV can roll up into its base, and has three viewing options - full view, line view and zero view. In Line View, there are six different modes, in which the TV can show the weather, the time, a home dashboard and more. Like the rest of LG's 2019 OLED range, the OLED TV R is based on the company's 2nd-gen Alpha 9 intelligent processor the enables LG's ThinQ AI to offer new display algorithms and Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
DSCC says that production costs for a 55" QD-OLED TV panel at Samsung Display's 8.5-Gen fab will reach almost $800 in 2019. While this will fall to around $450 in 2022, Samsung will still lose money on every panel sold if DSCC has its price and cost estimates right.
It is important to note that most of the cost is depreciation costs - which means that in terms of cash on each panel, SDC's margins will actually be around 40%. Part of the reason for he high cost of required equipment is the need to use 12 TFT masks.. SDC is apparently looking to reduce the mask number which will lower production costs.
LG Display reported its financial results for Q4 2018 - it reported an operating profit of ₩279 billion ($250 million USD) due to strong shipments of IT panels and OLED TVs. LGD however gave a weak outlook to 2019 (for its LCD business).
LGD says that it will invest $7.1 billion in 2019 in capacity expansion, and $3.5 billion in 2020. It will divert all of its investments into OLED displays - with 60% going to large area OLED TV production and 40% going to small/medium pOLED production.
DSCC released its cost and prices estimates for Samsung's smartphone OLEDs. For rigid OLEDs production costs range from $23 for a 5.5" FHD AMOLED to $32 for a 7.21" 2244x1080 one (see chart below). For some of its rigid OLEDs, SDC enjoys a high operating margin of 30%.
Flexible OLEDs are of course much more expensive - a 5.5" 2560x1440 panel costs almost $70, while a 6.46" 2688x1242 panel costs around $90 (as can be seen in the chart below). As in rigid OLEDs, the larger displays have a higher operating margin (up to 26% for the 6.46" panel).
You can compare DSCC's production costs estimates with the recently released IHS production costs here. IHS estimates a 5.7" rigid OLED at $18.62 (DSCC: 5.8" at $23) and a 5.8" flexible OLED at $22.61 (DSCC: 5.5" costs $70 - that's quite a difference!).
DSCC says that Samsung's foldable 7.3" 2152x15236 AMOLED panel (the one that will be used by Samsung's first foldable OLED device) currently costs almost $180 produce (and SDC will actually lose a bit on every panel sold).
SDC will be able, though, to quickly lower its production costs which will reach around $90 for each panel in 2022. Cost reductions will enable SDC to maintain a good profit margin on these foldable displays from 2020 onwards. The main reason for the current high prices are SDC's low yields on foldable AMOLEDs.
Market research firm DSCC says that BOE managed to dramatically increase its yields - which have tripled to over 30% by the end of 2018. The company is expected to continue and improve its yields which will reach, according to DSCC, to almost 60% by the end of 2019.
The increased yields enabled BOE to increase its flexible OLED production at its first B7 line from 125,000 units per month in Q3 2018 to almost 1 million panels per month in Q4 2018. BOE's main customer is Huawei - with its Mate 20 Pro. The increased yields means that panel production costs are falling - and DSCC actually expects BOE's production costs to fall below SDC's by the end of 2019 as BOE's fab costs are subsidized - as can be seen in the image below.
IHS released its LCD and OLED smartphone display cost model for Q3 2018. According to IHS, a 5.7" 2560x1440 rigid OLED costs $18.62 to produce, a full-display flexible curved 5.8" 2880x1440 OLED costs $22.61 and a Notch-type 5.9" 2438x1125 OLED costs $28.18 to produce.
It is not clear how IHS estimates yields - from our information SDC's production yields are much higher compared to the new makers such as BOE and LG Display - which means that yielded costs are much lower at SDC's mature OLED fabs.
Fuji Chimera Research Institute says that the global microdisplay market reached $161 million in 2018, with AMOLED taking up a market share of 27.8%. LCoS is still the leading technology with a market share of 59.7%.
Fuji Chimera expects the OLED microdisplay market to grow to $75 million by 2021 - a CAGR of 10.9%. The average unit price for an OLED microdisplay will reach $32 (35% higher than LCoS microdisplays).