Samsung Display’s OLED panel shipment dropped 9% in January from the previous month to 45 million units, according to market research firm Omdia.
Low sales of iPhone 12 Mini was the cause, the firm said.
Apple launched four models in its iPhone 12 series last year. As a whole, the series recorded strong sales thanks to new design and support for 5G, but the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini sold less than Cupertino anticipated.
Samsung Display is the sole supplier for the OLEDs on the Mini model. Early first quarter is also traditionally the off-season in smartphone sales.
However, the Korean firm’s rigid OLED supply to Chinese companies remained strong in the month. Rigid OLED panels use glass substrates and are relatively cheaper than flexible OLED panels that use plastic (polyimide) which are used for flagship smartphones such as iPhone and Galaxy S21.
In January, worldwide total smartphone OLED panel shipment was 53 million units, a decline of 9% from the previous month. Samsung Display supplied 45 million units of that, accounting for 85% of the total. LG Display shipped 6 million units in the same month, which were supplied to iPhone 12.
Total smartphone panel shipment, which combines OLED and liquid crystal display (LCD), for January was 164 million units, a decline of 4% from the previous month but a surge of 35% from the previous year. The increase was thanks to multiple smartphone manufacturers stocking up on the panel to fill the vacuum left by Huawei, which saw its share plummet due to US sacntions.
Out of LCD, amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD shipment was at 49 million units for the month. Low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) was 52 million units.
Omdia said demand drop for LTPS TFT LCD was less than those for OLED panels. The firm also warned of instability in panel production due to the shortage in display driver IC.
In total shipment ranking, Samsung Display was first, followed by runner-up BOE and Tianma which ranked third. The three companies combined supplied 65% of all smartphone panels in January. BOE recorded 44 million unit shipment, but most of its supply is LCD. Tianma moved 17 million units, which was also mostly LCD while OLED only accounted for 2% (300,000) unit.