It is predicted that reduced shipments of smartphones will lead to reduced size of small and medium display markets.
According to IHS Markit, a market research company, the global shipments of display panels for mobile phones (feature phones and smartphones) is estimated to be 1.95 billion. That said, the size of the projection will be decreased by 3% compared to last year. Sales is expected to drop by 4.6%, equivalent to $4.1 billion (approximately KRW 4.58 trillion). “An intensified competition among small and medium panel markets is expected if shipments of smartphones halt and doesn’t go up,” said Briah Huh, the principal analyst of IHS Markit at the Korean Display Fall Conference 2018 held at EL Tower in Seoul.
Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) that also refers to High-Resolution LCD panels, are pre-dominantly produced by Chinese companies like Tianma, BOE, AUO, etc. whilst Japan's JDI, Sharp and LG Display are decreasing their market shares. “Japan and Korea are no longer leading the markets for LTPS LCD,” said Brian.
South Korea is now focusing on OLED in the small and medium markets but that also brings without worries about the unexpectedly low demand in iPhones. According to IHS Markit, operation rate of Samsung Display's Cheonan A3 line is only about 60%. Production line extension is relatively challenging. Higher sales gain in the medium and low-priced markets has become the hottest topic among OLED manufacturers. However, Samsung Electronics is mainly using Chinese LCD panels for now.
“Samsung Display is going to target Chinese smartphone markets with a variety of technologies hardly applicable to LCDs, such as reducing bezel and holes or operating OLED display itself as a speaker,” said the principal analyst.