The shipment of OLED panels surpassed that of LTPS LCDs for the first time for smartphone displays in the third quarter of this year, according to market research firm IHS Markit this month.
In total, 147 million OLED panels were shipped. The volume for LTPS LCDs were just over 100 million. Samsung Display was a main benefactor, having shipped more on growing demands for OLEDs in smartphones.
Over the past 2 years, the shipment of rigid OLED panels for mid and low-tier smartphones produced by OEM in China has been growing exponentially. In 2017, the top four Chinese smartphone OEM makers Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi rolled out 11 OLED-fitted phones.
In 2018, they added 30 more, then another 16 in 2019 to bring the grand total to 57. Flexible OLED shipments have also been growing after Apple released its iPhone 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max, and Huawei launched the Mate 30 Pro while Samsung rolled out the Galaxy Note 10 series, which all used OLED panels.
HIS Markit cited Fingerprint On Display (FOD) as one of the main drivers behind the OLED growth. LCD panels are not as compatible with FOD as OLEDs. From China, display maker BOE did announce it would be mass producing optical FOD-embedded LCDs from the end of this year, but it has yet to be commercialized.
For now, Samsung Display is the biggest stakeholder in the global OLED market, according to IHS Markit. In the 3H, it recorded sales of 9.2 trillion won and an operating profit of 1.1 trillion won. In September, it shipped 51 million panels.
Chinese rivals such as BOE and Visionox are producing mainly rigid OLEDs, but quality is not quite up to par, according to market watchers. BOE and LG Display has begun to supply flexible OLED panels to LG Electronics and Google, but the shipment volume is still insignificant.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.