Thanks to a sudden increase in demand , shipment revenue of flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays more than tripled in 2017, accounting for 54.6 percent of total AMOLED panel shipment revenue, according to business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO).
The flexible AMOLED panel market expanded by about 250 percent in 2017 to $12 billion from $3.5 billion in 2016, while rigid AMOLED panel shipment revenue contracted by 14 percent during the same period. Samsung Display started supplying its flexible AMOLED displays for the iPhone X in the third quarter of 2017, which greatly contributed to the overall shipment revenue increase. LG Display, BOE and Kunshan Govisionox Optoelectronics also started producing flexible AMOLED panels for smartphones and smartwatches in 2017, helping the market growth.
“High-end smartphone brands have increasingly applied flexible AMOLED panels to their products for unique and special design,” said Jerry Kang, senior principal analyst at IHS Markit. “The number of flexible AMOLED panel suppliers is also increasing, but the supplying capacity is still concentrated in Samsung Display.”
The flat type flexible AMOLED panels accounted for about a half of total flexible AMOLED shipment units in 2017, shifting from the curved type that used to be the major flexible AMOLED display form factor until 2016.
“As Apple applied the flat type to the iPhone X, the form factor of smartphone displays has diversified,” Kang said.
According to the latest AMOLED & Flexible Display Intelligence Service by IHS Markit, the demand for flexible AMOLED panels is not expected to grow as fast as supply capacity in 2018. “In a way to overcome potential oversupply, many panel makers are trying to develop another innovative form factor, such as foldable or rollable, within a few years,” Kang said.