[THE INVESTOR] OLED displays are rapidly gaining market share in the global smartphone industry, crossing the 60 percent threshold in the July-September period, according to a report on Dec. 17.
The market share of OLEDs by revenue, which was 35 percent in the first quarter last year, has been increasing with major smartphone companies, including Apple and Huawei, competitively adopting the self-luminous displays for their flagship models.
Sales of the entire smartphone display market in the third quarter stood at US$10.8 billion. Of the total quarterly revenue, US$6.6 billion, or 61.1 percent, came from OLED displays, according to the report released by market research firm IHS Markit.
Flexible OLED displays made the largest contribution to the increased presence. The panels, based on a flexible substrate, such as plastic and flexible glass, are light, thin and durable, and allow smartphone makers more leeway in design.
The notch display for Apple’s iPhone X and the punch-hole display for Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy A8s were enabled by this new technology. High production costs and relatively low yields, however, are some of the shortcomings. Rigid OLED displays -- less flexible and cheaper -- are mainly used in mid-range smartphones.
The report also noted that thin-film-transistor LCDs, which are mostly utilized in mid-range and low-end smartphones, saw the market share drop from 56.2 percent in the third quarter last year to 38.9 percent in the same period this year.
Samsung Display, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics and an OLED powerhouse, ruled 93.3 percent of the entire market in the third quarter while leading the flexible OLED segment with a 94.2 percent share.
Market watchers forecast that the company, a main OLED panel supplier for Apple and Samsung Electronics, will likely cement its dominance with more smartphone makers opting for flexible displays for various form factors, such as foldable phones.
“Samsung Display, which holds the upper hand in the smartphone OLED market, will maintain its lead in the segment for a long time,” said Yoo Jong-woo, an analyst from Korea Investment & Securities, citing the sluggish sales of Apple’s LCD-based iPhone XR.
The Korean display firm’s combined market share for both OLED and LCD came in at 58.4 percent, outpacing its rivals -- BOE, Tianma Microelectronics, Sharp and LG Display -- by a wide margin, all of which had less than 10 percent market share each.
By shipments, Samsung’s market share was a mere 22.8 percent, which means the company’s OLED business is highly profitable, according to market watchers.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)