What a difference a year make! The display industry has shifted from record growth and very high revenue in 2021 to a declined market in 2022. In times like these, innovations and developments in display materials, process, products and technology can help to recover and drive demand in future.
Display Market in DeclineAccording to DSCC Ross Young’s keynote presentation at the Business Conference,
- Display revenues peaked in 2021 on strong COVID demand and tight supply leading to a dramatic increase in panel prices. The 2021 display market grew 31% to a record $165B.
- 2022 revenue fell 22% to $128B with LCDs down 29% and OLEDs down 1% as prices collapsed and fell below cash costs.
- 2023 revenue is expected to fall 10% to $116B as demand remains soft and prices remain low, LCDs down 11%, OLEDs down 8%.
- Slower supply growth and return of demand growth will enable the market to rebound to $148B in 2027, a 2.9% CAGR from ‘22 to ‘27.
- MicroLEDs and Micro OLEDs to grow at triple digit CAGRs with OLEDs growing at a 7% CAGR and LCDs falling at a 0.8% CAGR.
Technology Development can Drive Display DemandLooking at the history of display market, we see that technology shift has helped to drive demand and gain higher adoption rates. Shift from CRTs to flat panel display LCD, shift from CCFL backlight of LCD to LED, shift to larger sizes and higher resolutions, all helped to generate consumer product replacement demand. Flexible AMOLEDs continue to gain significant shares in the smartphone market. Large size OLED has also achieved strong position on premium TV market.
Max McDaniel from Applied Materials said in his Business Conference keynote presentation, “Inflection waves drive display industry. New technologies are high cost at first, then cost reductions. Technology innovation drives cost down”. He stated, “New momentum in OLED IT with RGB OLED scale-up. Litho based solutions are emerging and may dramatically improve scalability and cost of large-area RGB OLED manufacturing”. OLED display technology with new form factors (foldable, rollable, stretchable) combined with better materials, process and designs will create new usability of products in future, opening up new application opportunities.
Higher Brightness and Better Color to Drive OLED TV DemandBob O’Brien from DSCC said in his presentation, “In the premium TV market, we see a three-way battle between MiniLED LCD, White OLED and QD-OLED”. LCD dominates the mainstream TV market. According to DSCC data presented by Bob:
- TV dominates display area, with 70% of flat panel display area in 2022.
- 78% of display area growth will come from TV; area share will increase to 72% by 2027.
- Perceived brightness(Q)= Achromatic Luminance(white)+ Chromatic Luminance (color vividness)
- QD OLED looks brighter under same luminance or QD OLED needs less luminance for same visual brightness
- With pure color (narrow and tunable emission properties)
- Luminance for HDR (excellent operational stability at high luminance)
- Chromatic Response time (fast response time in nano sec means display without ghosting)
- >50% share in 2023
- >70% by 2026
Gen 8.7 Fabs and IGZO Backplane to Drive OLED IT DemandSamsung Display, LG Display and BOE are bringing Gen 8.7 fabs (in 2025 and beyond) to address larger OLED panels for tablets and IT markets and are trying to reduce cost using FMM VTE tools. As Ross presented, for ½ Gen 8.7 FMM VTE tools, glass area is 116% higher than (½ Gen 6) and has 2 times more transfer chambers per tool. Tandem tool capacity at 7.5K/m need two tools for 15K/m fab capacity which can be extremely high cost and with technical challenges it can create constraint for Gen 8.7 fabs. Samsung Display and LG Display are planning high mobility IGZO backplane with low mask count to improve cost. Higher cost saving is also expected by shifting to rigid +TFE substrate that will have lower capex compared to flexible OLEDs. All three suppliers are planning to use Tandem structures with Gen 6 Fabs in 2024 for higher brightness, higher life time and also to reduce power consumption (20% to 30%) especially for IT market.
As per Ross’s presentation Visionox and JDI are considering an alternate approach eLEAP, eliminating FMM patterning step with lithography step. It can be a lower cost solution, and can also target all sizes on a single G8.7 line while boosting OLED brightness and lifetime with larger aperture targeting IT application. Mike Hack from Universal Display presented the update for Blue Phosphorescent OLED (PHOLED) emitter which will enable all Phosphorescent RGB OLED increasing brightness plus lifetime while reducing power consumptions. Blue PHOLED is expected to be commercialized by 2025.
IT market is declining after strong growth during Covid due to WFH and LFH. As per DSCC’s David Naranjo presentation for IT market,
- 2023 – Double Digit Y/Y Growth Expected for OLEDs
- MiniLED notebook PCs are expected to decrease 10% Y/Y while OLED notebook PCs increase 20% Y/Y.
- MiniLED tablets are expected to decline 7% Y/Y while OLED tablets increase 18% Y/Y.
- LG17-inch foldable crease free display that can be used as tablet, laptops or portables
- Samsung Display Flex Note 17.3-inch foldable laptop, unfolded to larger screen monitor
- BOE showcased 17-inch bendable laptop display
- TCL CSOT 17-inch IGZO Ink Jet printed OLED foldable display
For VR (and pass-through AR) most displays are based on TFT LCD and AMOLED. VR needs high pixel density to reduce or eliminate the screen door effect, as optical lenses magnify the image. It requires high refresh rates and a short duty cycle to reduce motion sickness. There is a need for smaller lighter headsets. For see-through AR, all headsets are currently based on microdisplays (DLP, Micro-LCD, LCoS, Micro OLED) or laser beam scanner (LBS). They need very high brightness displays to match the ambient light; display needs to be small and power efficient to make headsets thinner and light-weight. According to DSCC Guillaume Chansin’s presentation at Business Conference
- VR is expected to dominate the AR/VR market and Micro OLED is expected to capture the largest $US share from 2024.
- VR (including passthrough AR) will dominate in the consumer space. See-through AR mostly for professionals.
- Increasing interest in Micro OLED as it offers high resolution in a compact size.
Sweta Dash is the founding president of Dash-Insights, a market research and consulting company specializing in the display industry. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.