The current global economic downturn and shaky trade environment has slowed global market for automotive display touch modules this year. However, improving economic conditions and rising demand from autonomous vehicles will cause shipments to eventually recover, according to a report from IHS Markit titled “Automotive Touch and User Interface Report.”
According to the report, global shipments of automotive touch modules are expected to increase just 1.1% in 2019 to reach 64 million units, and will rise just 1.4 and 2.4% respectively in 2020 and 2021. However, in 2022 unit shipments are expected to rise 7.2% and will increase another 7.8% in 2023. The chart following the story has more details.
“The major factors behind the automotive touch module market’s near-term weakness are the global economic downturn, slowing demand and the U.S./China trade dispute,” said Kimi Lin, senior analyst, touch and user interface research, at IHS Markit|Technology, in a statement. “However, the market will rebound in 2022 due to a resumption in economic growth and increasing sales of autonomous vehicles.”
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As far as touch screen technologies, the automotive market has been slower to adopt capacitive touch, which caught on years earlier in the smartphone market. According to IHS, capacitive touch technology is seeing a ramp-up of design-ins in the automotive segment, with almost every new passenger car sold since the start of 2016 using a center stack display equipped with a projected capacitive touch display. The older resistive touch technology now is used only in trucks.
According to the report, the other wildcard in automotive displays is when a newer touch technology, embedded touch, will catch on. Embedded touch, which provides the advantages of thin form factor and narrow border size, has in recent years become the dominant screen technology in smartphones.
The growth of touch display technologies could also reshape the automotive supply chain, the study said. Touch panel makers are not satisfied with acting as mere component providers to Tier 1 automotive OEMs. Instead, they want to become Tier 1 suppliers themselves in order to develop their own close relationships with OEMs.
According to the report, panel makers are more likely to promote embedded touch solutions. Touch suppliers have begun focusing on image capture, augmented reality, touch upgrades—such as suspension touch—and other features, hoping to add revolutionary capabilities to displays.
However, panel and touch makers could face issues trying to compete with Tier 1 suppliers on system integration and software development. But emerging sectors such as electric vehicles could give touch and panel makers a viable entry point into the automotive market, the study said.