According to TrendForce, since Apple started adopting OLED for iPhones with the release of the iPhone 12 series in 2020, other smartphone brands have also steadily increased the use of this display technology for their iPhone models. high-end devices. Currently, all main series iPhone models come with an OLED panel. The SE series models are the only remaining ones that still have an LCD screen. As for Samsung, half of its smartphone offers have an OLED panel. Chinese smartphone brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO and vivo have also increased the share of device models with OLED panel to 30~40%. In summary, most smartphone brands plan to integrate OLED into more of their offerings, although Transsion is a notable exception as it targets Africa with affordable devices and therefore has a relatively low adoption rate. .
TrendForce points out that Chinese smartphone brands had not actively expanded the adoption of flexible OLED panels due to two factors. First, Samsung Display (SDC) was able to sell rigid OLED panels to Chinese brands at lower prices because it is the only supplier of this type of panel. And due to favorable prices, Chinese brands have preferred rigid OLED panels as they have helped reduce the cost of an entire device. Second, concerns about whether consumers can accept higher prices for their devices have also affected Chinese brands’ willingness to use flexible OLED panels.
When there was a shortage of rigid SDC OLED panels in 2021, Chinese brands were unable to mitigate the supply risk as they lacked alternative sources for this component. Learning from this turn of events, Chinese brands are now partnering with leading panel suppliers based in their home countries to develop “DDI flexible OLED panels without ram”. The prices of flexible OLED panels could drop sharply due to their joint efforts, perhaps even close to the price level of the rigid counterparts. Such a development, in turn, could greatly increase the willingness of Chinese brands to use flexible OLED panels. In addition to reducing the potential risk of over-reliance on SDC as sole supplier, Chinese brands could also support their government’s localization policy and help domestic panel suppliers increase their market share. It is reported that Chinese brands are planning to integrate flexible OLED panels into their mid-range devices in the future.
Regarding foldable smartphones also equipped with an OLED panel, TrendForce estimates that unit sales of these devices will total around 12.8 million for 2022. The corresponding market penetration rate will reach around 1.1%. Samsung is significantly ahead of other brands in the development of foldable smartphones, so nearly 80% of foldable smartphones currently in the market belong to Samsung’s Flip and Fold series. Chinese brands such as Huawei, Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO also launched new foldable devices this year. Although these devices have been known to grab the attention of consumers with advances in performance and exterior design, they have not seen significant sales growth outside of China this year due to the limitations of their distribution channels. Since major smartphone brands will launch new and improved device models at regular times each year, TrendForce currently forecasts foldable smartphone sales to total 18.5 million units for 2023, reflecting a market penetration rate of market by about 1.5%.
TrendForce adds that the adoption of OLED panels among smartphones will continue to grow steadily in 2023. The releases of high-end foldable OLED devices and the adoption of low-cost and low-cost OLED panels will provide the consumption channels for the support panel. production capacity, which will also increase over the quarters. Conversely, LTPS LCD panels are approaching their full maturity, so the demand for this type of panel will decline to some extent in the future due to the anticipated contraction in the smartphone market. In such a scenario, excess production capacity of LTPS LCD panels will be used to provide display solutions for other applications, such as automotive displays, industrial equipment displays, and computer displays. Therefore, LTPS LCD panel vendors are expected to accelerate the development of alternative market segments to smartphone screens.
For more information, visit TrendForce.
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