The sales of flexible organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), which can realize flexible designs such as rounded corners in the small and medium display market used for smartphones and tablets, more than doubled in the second quarter of this year from a year earlier.
In the second quarter of this year, flexible OLED sales in the global small and medium-sized display market totaled US$2.054 billion, according to market research firm IHS Markit. Compared to the previous year's US$ 886 million, the sales figure grew a whopping 132%.
Small and medium-sized displays are based on nine-inch or smaller panels and used for smartphones, tablets, wearable devices, digital cameras and game machines. Of these, smartphones account for 70% to 80% of the total. Samsung Electronics’s Galaxy S8 Edge has rounded corners and is loaded with a flexible OLED. OLEDs include rigid OLEDs that use glass substrates which cannot be processed into flexible shapes.
The flexible OLED market ballooned thanks to these strengths and surpassed the glass substrate OLED market for the first time. The proportion of flexible OLEDs in the entire OLED market stood at 30.6% only until the end of the first quarter but surged to 51.1% in the second quarter, surpassing the portion of glass substrate OLEDs for the first time.
It is said that this is because Samsung Electronics is expanding smartphones with flexible OLEDs and other major manufacturers are also adopting flexible OLEDs one after another. Samsung Display continued to keep its dominance with a 98.3% share in the flexible OLED market in 2Q09. Samsung Display's flexible OLEDs will go into Apple's 'iPhone X'.
In the second quarter, the small- and medium-sized display market amounted to US$12.294 billion with shipments totaling 666.25 million units, an all-time second quarter high. In particular, sales climbed 18% year on year. Analysis says that this is because the smartphone display market also grew sharply because of an increase in the proportion of high-resolution products and a spike in average display sizes with the expansion of the flexible OLED market.
In terms of sales, Samsung Display came in first with a 31.9% share and sales of US$ 3,922 million. Samsung Display was followed by Japan Display (US$ 1,865 million, a 15.2% share), LG Display (US$ 1,198 million, a 9.7% share), BOE (US$ 1,071 million, an 8.7% share) and Sharp (US$ 914 million, a 7.4% share).