Touchscreens a $14 billion market in 2012

March 22, 2012 — The touchscreen display market will reach $14 billion in 2012, driven by the two largest applications, mobile phones and tablet PCs, IDTechEx reports. While projected capacitive touch sensors are the main technology, several others exist for various touch display applications.

Projected capacitive touch is the current market-leading touch display technology. A dozen other touch screen sensor architectures are available, though not all suit the performance, clarity, volume, and cost requirements of consumer applications.
 
Projected capacitive touch screens are most often deployed in mobile and smart phones, as well as fast-growing tablets.

Analog resistive technology is widely used in small size (>10") healthcare and hospitality displays, as well as high-volume retail environments.

Embedded touch technology leads the emerging touch technology sector; on-cell technology in particular has the biggest potential for small- and medium-size consumer electronics.

Infrared (IR) and surface acoustic wave (SAW) touch technologies are mainly relevant for specialized touch devices, such as ATMs and banking and financial applications, as well as eBooks and mobile phones to some extent.
 
Over the next decade, projected capacitive touch technology will continue to lead the market as panel costs decline. Due to extremely low cost, resistive touch technology will continue to lead the market in price-sensitive applications that need precise touch. The rise of embedded touch technology will be conditioned by more and more LCD manufacturers entering the field.

Figure 1. Touch market forecast by technology in 2012. Source: IDTechEx, Touch Screen Modules, Technologies, Markets, Forecasts 2012-2022.

 
The display industry’s next big opportunity lies in replacing indium tin oxide (ITO), especially in mainstream projected capacitive and resistive touch technologies. Half the costs of projected capacitive touch screen modules come from the ITO sensor. Along with cost reduction, ITO alternatives offer flexible properties for bendable, rollable and stretchable electronics with touch functionality.
 
Touchscreens are a mature technology for specialized applications, such as automatic teller machines (ATMs), point-of-sales terminals, Kiosks, etc. Mass consumer market use of touch screens was triggered when Apple introduced projected capacitive touch screen technology for the iPhone in 2007. Mobile phones are the largest volume market for touchscreen panels; over 40% of mobile phones will use touchscreens in 2012, with nearly complete market share within 10 years.

Shipment of tablets with touchscreen technology is expected to reach 100 million units in 2012.
 

Figure 2. Market size for touch technologies by device size in 2012. Source: IDTechEx, Touch Screen Modules, Technologies, Markets, Forecasts 2012-2022.

The touchscreen market is expected to triple in the next decade.

The next big markets for touchscreens are eBooks, (mobile) game consoles, car displays and navigation devices, as well as digital cameras for small to medium size displays. Bigger touch screens over 10" can be increasingly found in laptops and PC monitors, TVs, and other screens.

All of these trends, including detailed ten year forecasts by touch screen technology and by application as well as primary user markets, applicability of the different technologies and application trends, are covered in the new IDTechEx report "Touch Screen Technologies, Applications and Trends 2012-2022." Access it at www.IDTechEx.com/touch.

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