As the popularity and penetration of wearable and mobile devices increase, so too will demand for innovative flexible displays. In fact, revenue from flexible displays is expected to increase more than 300 percent, from just $3.7 billion in 2016 to $15.5 billion in 2022. Flexible displays will comprise 13 percent of total display market revenue in 2020, according to IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics launched the first smartphones with flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays in 2013, and both companies continue to adapt flexible AMOLED displays for their smartphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers. Inspired by these successes, other mobile manufacturers are now developing their own flexible-display devices.
“The varieties of flexible displays include screens that are bendable, curved and edge-curved, but fully foldable form factors are expected within the next two years,” said Jerry Kang, principal analyst of display research for IHS Technology. “Only a few suppliers — including Samsung Display, LG Display, E-ink and Futaba — are now regularly supplying flexible displays to the market. However, many more panel makers are now attempting to build flexible display capacity, leveraging the latest AMOLED display technology.”
According to the IHS Flexible Display Market Tracker, flexible displays are primarily used in smartphones and smartwatches in 2016; however, use in other applications, including tablet PCs, near-eye virtual reality devices, automotive monitors and OLED TVs is expected by 2022. “Consumer device manufacturers will eventually need to innovate their conventionally designed flat, rectangular form-factors to make way for the latest curved, foldable and rollable screens,” Kang said.