Largely driven by demand from upscale Samsung smartphones, particularly the Galaxy S4, global shipments of high-end active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display panels posted impressive sequential growth of 16 percent in the second quarter.
Global AMOLED display shipments during the period from April through June amounted to 53.1 million units, up from 45.6 million in the first quarter, according to the OLED Displays Market Tracker - Q3 2013 report from IHS Inc. Shipments were up by an even more impressive 41 percent from 37.6 million in the second quarter of 2012, as presented in Figure 1.
“Samsung is driving the rapid growth of the small-sized AMOLED market, with the company responsible for most of the supply and the demand for the panels,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, director for Mobile and Emerging Display Technologies at IHS. “In terms of demand, the company’s smartphone business is the largest AMOLED panel consumer. On the supply side, Samsung Display Corp. is the largest AMOLED producer. With Samsung’s line of Galaxy smartphone enjoying fast sales growth, its AMOLED business is expanding quickly as well.”
Samsung in charge Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone in the second quarter was the biggest single user of AMOLEDs, with shipments of the 4.99-inch panels used in the device reaching10 million units per month. The S4 was also the biggest factor driving the growth of the overall AMOLED market, owing to booming demand for the smartphone.
Also racking up big numbers was the 4.8-inch panel, utilized in the older Samsung Galaxy S III. However, total shipments for this panel size are starting to decline because the newer S4 model now is more in demand among consumers.
Samsung also employed a 5.5-inch AMOLED panel in the Note 2, a smartphone-cum-tablet that Samsung dubs a “phablet.”
Smartphone supremacy for AMOLEDs “Smartphones are the primary users of AMOLED panels, because of the displays’ image clarity, lighter weight and high contrast ratio over competitive panel technologies like low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS),” said Jerry Kang, senior analyst at IHS.
“Smartphones in the third quarter are estimated to have maintained their dominant share of the AMOLED market, with close to a 97 percent share. The remaining 3 percent is split among a passel of applications, including handheld gaming devices, digital still cameras, camcorders and tablets,” Kang added.
Sizing up the market Among the various AMOLED panel sizes, the overwhelming majority—at 45.2 million units, or 85 percent—was in the 4.x-inch category in the second quarter, as shown in Figure 2 attached. The second-largest portion of the market, at approximately 5.0 million units, or 9 percent, was the 5.x-inch segment. The last sector of consequence was the 3.x inch with 2.8 million units, or 5.3 percent.
The remaining one percent represented panels in the 2.x- and 7.x-inch sizes as well as bigger panels used in televisions. These included panels in the 50-inch range, such as those used in Samsung’s new 55-inch OLED TV, launched in June to compete with a similar OLED model introduced by Samsung archrival LG Electronics.
The second-quarter performance also was notable in terms of panel shipment area. The total for the period came to 341,000 square meters, up 18 percent from the earlier quarter and a significant increase of 64 percent on an annual basis.
Average panel size and average selling prices are both up The average size of panels sold in the second quarter amounted to 4.83 inches, or 0.6 percent more than 4.80 inches in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, unit area prices (ASP/inch),rose to $2.79, up 5 percent from $2.66 in the first quarter.
The increase in average panel sizes resulted from the sharp growth in 4.99-inch panel shipments. The upgraded performance of AMOLED panels in this size, which employ full high-definition resolutions, appears to have boosted the ASP of the 4.99-inch panel, compared to the 4.8-inch.
Notwithstanding the good showing, AMOLED panels make up a mere fraction of the overall market for display panels. Total shipments for small- and medium-sized panels in all applications during the second quarter amounted to 743 million units, still largely made up of liquid-crystal displays (LCD). OLED accounted for just 6 percent of the overall small and medium display market, and represented only 9 percent of the total mobile handset display business.