AMOLED displays draw attention on smartphone adoption

January 5, 2012 — 2011 was pivotal for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, particularly active matrix OLED (AMOLED) displays. With strong growth in smartphones, AMOLED shipments are estimated to have reached 90 million units in 2011, up 97% year-over-year (Y/Y), while revenue is expected to grow to $3.36 billion, up 169% Y/Y, according to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report.

As it competes with TFT LCDs, AMOLED penetration into the small/medium (9" and smaller) display market has been increasing. In 2010, AMOLEDs had a 6% share of small/medium active matrix flat panel displays (TFT LCD and AMOLED), and is expected to have doubled its share to 12% in 2011. The reason for this is smartphones, which saw more than doubled revenues in 2011. Trends include higher average selling prices (ASPs) and larger screen sizes with increased display performance.

Figure 1. Annual small/medium AMOLED revenue by application. Source: NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report.

AMOLED is experiencing particularly strong adoption in larger smartphone displays. Q1-3 2011, shipments of AMOLED displays 3.5" and larger for smartphones reached 59.7 million units, up three-fold from the same period in 2010.

Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones has been the leading adopter of AMOLED displays with high contrast and motion picture response time, while Apple’s iPhone uses a high-resolution TFT LCD with IPS technology. The competition between the iPhone and Galaxy has brought increased attention to the AMOLED displays, currently produced only by Samsung Mobile Display.

With the successful mass-production of AMOLEDs and a new Gen 5.5 fab running, Samsung Mobile Display is producing larger AMOLED displays for applications such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note and Tab tablet PCs, as well as supplying outside customers.

"Samsung Mobile Displays has been a key driver of the growth of AMOLEDs, with the company accounting for 97.5% of all AMOLED shipments," notes Hiroshi Hayase, NPD DisplaySearch’s VP of small/medium display research. "LG Display, AUO, and CMI also are planning to ship AMOLEDs for smart phones in 2012."

AMOLEDs are also penetrating new market segments such as Sony’s PS-Vita portable game, which features a 5” AMOLED; LG Display is shipping AMOLEDs to LG Electronics for external mobile phone displays. LG Electronics announced plans to produce a 55” AMOLED TV in 2012.

The NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report covers the entire range of small/medium displays shipped worldwide and regionally. Backed by over 40 suppliers of data and our own team of industry analysts, this report analyzes historical shipments and projects forecasts that provide decision makers with the insights they need to support procurement and product plans.

The Quarterly Small/Medium Shipment and Forecast Report now offers advanced features that allow users to track data by viewing angle and 3D capabilities. NPD DisplaySearch is a global market research and consulting firm specializing in the display supply chain, as well as the emerging photovoltaic/solar cell industries. For more information on NPD DisplaySearch analysts, reports and industry events, visit

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