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Smartphone LCD displays lose ground to OLED

Smartphone display shipments are expected to be 2 percent down YoY in 2020, according to Omdia’s latest 3Q20 Smartphone Display Market Tracker.

Shipments hit 422 million in Q3 2020 with traditional LCD phone displays (backlit with GaN-based LEDs) losing ground to flexible OLED whose shipments were up 8 percent year on year in 2020.

Q3 display shipments have risen by 16 percent Q/Q but are slightly lower than 432 million shipments in Q3 2019, after a slow start to 2020 due to the global pandemic which caused many factories closed and US President’s ban on Huawei products in the USA. The market has recovered however from H1 20 where shipments were at 319 million and 370 million in Q2.

Increased demand in the second half of 2020 has been attributed to increased production from many factories within China with production recovering to pre pandemic levels in Q2 20. As well as the manufacturing recovery, Huawei also increased display procurement in anticipation of the US government ban, which came into force in September 2020.

Premium 5G smartphone demand supports the demand of Flexible OLED increasing Y/Y 8 percent in 2020.

Flexible OLED shipments for smartphone are expected to hit 171 million in 2020, accounting for 8 percent YoY growth due to the launch of the new iPhone 12 as well as other major manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo all offering flexible OLED displays to premium 5G handsets.

Total TFT LCD display shipments were down 3 percent YoY to 1.08 million whilst Rigid AMOLED shipments accounted for 301 million in 2020 down 4 percent YoY.

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Hiroshi Hayase, research manager of Small Medium Display and Touch interface at Omdia, commented: “Whilst the pandemic continues to affect smartphone display demand and may have an effect throughout 2021, we anticipate that demand for Flexible OLED demand will continue to rise as manufacturers continue to launch new premium 5G handsets.”

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