After a year of sustained strong growth in 2018, shipments of smartwatch displays continued to rise in 2019, reaching 57 million units in the third quarter, according to market research firm IHS Markit|Technology.
The firm noted that smartwatch shipments rose by 34% year-over-year in the third quarter. For 2019, shipments are projected to reach 195 million units, up 31% from 149 million in 2018.
“The smartwatch display market is enjoying a phase of staggering growth, with demand rising by 20-fold during the five-year period from 2014 through 2019,” said Hiroshi Hayase, senior director of small and medium displays at IHS Markit|Technology, in a statement. “In 2014, global smartwatch display shipments totaled just 9.4 million units. Shipments surged to nearly 200 million in 2019 as these watches have become more useful and functional.”
The growth of smartwatches has been boosted by the continued development of active matrix organic light-emitting diodes (AMOLEDs). This display technology enables the watches to be made with a thinner form factor than TFT-LCDs.
IHS Markit noted that since smartwatch displays are smaller than 2-in. in size, display makers serving this market must purchase legacy Gen 3 and Gen 4 fabs suitable for producing tiny screens.
Chinese electronic components producer BOE led the smartwatch display market in the third quarter, with a 28% share of shipments. Trailing BOE was LG Display at 15% and Truly at 12%. The bulk of smartwatch display shipments during this period were sent to Chinese smartphone brands Huawei and Xiaomi, IHS Markit noted.
“Fast becoming one of the most popular wearable devices, smartwatches now are loaded with functions as a result of enhanced synchronization with smartphones,” Hayase said. “Social media, email and message notifications, fitness and health tracking, GPS navigation and mobile payments are just some of the growing list of features that are making life easier and helping users to stay connected—as well as entertained.”