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Smartphone OLED shipments reach record high in March 2016

09 May 2016 David Hsieh

Monthly data from IHS shows a sharp rise in active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) smartphone displays in March 2016 compared to the leading low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) display technology.

At the start of this year, LTPS thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel shipments for smartphones were nearly 2.5 times as high as AMOLED display panel shipments. However, in March 2016 AMOLED smartphone panel shipments reached 32 million units-still below LTPS smartphone display shipments, but reaching the record high monthly, according to the IHS Technology Smartphone Display Shipment Tracker.

LTPS TFT-LCD has dominated the smartphone display market since Apple adopted it for the iPhone. While AMOLED has been used in high-end Samsung smartphones for some time now, mainstream use of the technology in mobile phones has been more limited. The gap between LTPS TFT-LCD and AMOLED is now narrowing, however, as costs decline and more smartphone brands warm to AMOLED's thinner and lighter form factor, better color saturation, greater contrast ratio and other differentiating features like flexibility.

IHS Technology has been tracking smartphone display shipments by technology, display suppliers and size in a monthly manner. In fact, unit shipments of AMOLED smartphone panels increased 23 percent to reach 31.7 million units in March 2016, compared to the previous month. This is the first time AMOLED shipments surpassed the 30 million per month unit mark since the technology was first adopted for smartphones. AMOLED market share in smartphones reached 21 percent in March 2016, up from 12 percent in March 2015.

Samsung's increased use of AMOLED displays in its low-end and mid-range mobile phones, along with growing demand from Chinese brands, is primarily driving the current surge in the technology, according to the Smartphone Display Shipment Tracker. OPPO, Vivo, Gionee and other Chinese brands have already added AMOLED smartphones to their product lineups, while Huawei and Xiaomi are now considering adopting the technology for upcoming new models. Apple is also reported to be weighing AMOLED displays for its iPhone models in 2017.

Apparently, increasing adoption of AMOLED by smartphone brands will keep driving the growth of AMOLED smartphone display shipments. Furthermore, it will encourage more display manufacturers and component suppliers to shift their capacity and resources to the growing AMOLED industry. Although Samsung Display is still the major dominant AMOLED smartphone panel supplier, three Chinese panel suppliers-EverDisplay, Tianma and Visionox-are starting to have some breakthroughs in the AMOLED manufacturing yield rate and are planning to ship AMOLED smartphone display panels to Chinese smartphone brands.

David Hsieh is Director of Analysis & Research within the IHS Technology group
Posted on 9 May 2016



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