Report: Half of smartphone displays to be OLED by 2023

More than 50% of smartphones sold worldwide in 2023 will employ active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display technology, up from about 30% in 2019, according to IHS Markit. Total AMOLED shipments are forecasted to rise to 825 million units in 2023.

AMOLED penetration is accelerating this year as smartphone brands seek compelling new features to attract consumers, as reported by the Smartphone Display Intelligence Service. Due to their advantages in flexibility, image quality and power consumption, AMOLEDs are rapidly claiming market share from the TFT-LCD, long the established smartphone display technology.

“With the global smartphone business mired in a state of saturation, sales growth has stalled,” said Hiroshi Hayase, senior director, small-medium displays at IHS Markit | Technology, in a statement. “As a result, smartphone brands at the beginning of 2019 began to focus on 5G models to drum up sales. However, with 5G consumer demand constrained by limited service deployments, the brands have shifted their focus toward improving the appeal of these devices by offering models featuring AMOLED technology.”

According to IHS Markit, all major smartphone brands—including Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi—have offered high-end models equipped with AMOLED displays in 2019. These smartphone makers increasingly are promoting full-screen designs and high-quality displays in their 2019 models. AMOLED now is emerging as the standard for premium smartphones.

The report projects AMOLED shipments to the smartphone market to total 486 million units in 2019, up 17% from 2018, despite a 1% decline in overall smartphone display shipments for the year. Significant penetration of AMOLED display technology in smartphones is expected in 2020, with companies such as Apple standardizing on the technology in its new phones and Chinese smartphone makers migrating AMOLEDs into mid-range phones.

According to the report, AMOLED technology enables more attractive smartphone designs, with some models wrapping the display around the device, creating a larger viewing area with an end-to-end screen. AMOLEDs have other advantages, including their support for power-saving features.

“Android and iOS now support Dark Mode operation, which plays into AMOLEDs’ strengths in reducing power consumption and extending battery life,” Hayase said.

The rise of AMOLEDs is occurring despite total smartphone display shipments declining, with 2019’s projected total of 1.58 billion units down 1% from 2018. The decline in smartphone shipments is having ripple effects on LTPS TFT-LCD production.