LONDON, Aug. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Highlights
• The global market for flexible displays reached $1.7 billion in 2016. The market should reach $3.1 billion in 2017 and $12.6 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.4% from 2017 to 2022.
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• The flexible OLED display technology market reached $965 million in 2016. The market should reach $2.1 billion in 2017 and $8.8 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 33.7% from 2017 to 2022.
• The electrophoretic display (EPD) technology market reached $527 million in 2016. The market should reach $739 million in 2017 and $2.5 billion by 2022 growing at a CAGR of 27.9% from 2017 to 2022.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Flexible displays have multiple meanings. Classically, a flexible display is a display whose form can be temporarily altered without affecting its functioning. In simpler words, flexible displays can be bent, rolled, and twisted without damage. For this report, we consider curved displays also as flexible, as they constitute an important milestone in departure from flat panel displays towards achieving full flexibility.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility is freedom. Flexible displays, in an ideal sense, are free in every connotation of the word. By all admissions, we are quite far from achieving this lofty ideal.
The display industry is an offshoot of the larger semiconductor device industry. It is characterized by major manufacturers making intense investments in their display lines and amortizing this investment over a finite number of years. The outlay runs into billions and no display manufacturer would risk setting up a unit unless there is a definitive assurance for yield.
This dilemma is about to be addressed with display majors and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) alike committing to investing in flexible displays in the next 24 months.
We cast the net wide and include curved, bendable and foldable displays in the ambit of flexible. The reason for these inclusions is that the technology underpinning these additional attributes is like what will be used in the ultimate flexible displays. The traction developed by display heavyweights and OEMs is behind the impressive annual growth rate projections.
Study Goals and Objectives
This study's goals and objectives are:
• To measure and forecast the market size for flexible displays, broken down by key applications internalizing them in value as well as volume terms.
• To break down the overall flexible display market along individual applications, including E-book readers and tablets; notebooks and personal computers (PCs); mobile phones and smartphones; gaming devices and media players; automotive and navigation; smartcards and other cards; signage and billboards; retail and logistics; and wearables and defense.
• To break down the individual flexible display application market along display technologies, including organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays; electrophoretic displays (EPD); and electrowetting + choleric liquid crystal display (ChLCD) + Organic LCD (OLCD).
• To break down the individual flexible display application market along lithography/printing technologies, including shadow mask/vapor deposition and other low-resolution technologies; inkjet printing; imprint lithography; and photolithography
• To break down the individual flexible display application market along fabrication technologies, including conventional (batch) fabrication; and Roll-to-Roll and others.
• To analyze the patenting activity involving flexible displays.
• To analyze the stakeholder landscape in the flexible display commercialization endeavors.
Reasons for Doing This Study
Looking at flexibility holistically, flexible displays can improve the quality of existing display functions; and it can synthesize new functions and use-cases altogether. Predictably, the industry is occupied with the first set of benefits. The history of semiconductor device evolution bears witness to the fact that mature technologies are the ones that have broken new frontiers of usage.
Thus, this report explores the path of the display industry as it engages in its quest towards internalizing flexibility in different stages of its value creation - display technologies, fabrication technologies and printing/lithography technologies.
Scope of Report
The report provides a snapshot of the market for flexible displays and the share of principal display technologies that constitute it. It also provides an overview of flexible display technologies, fabrication technologies and printing/lithography technologies as well as back-end design aspects.
Key front-end display emission technologies are explained in context to their suitability for flexible displays. The report also includes a high-level breakdown of the global market for flexible displays.
The report also reviews the global market for flexible displays in key applications, broken down by individual applications by display technologies and geographical regions in dollar sales as well as unit shipments. A review of patents analyzes the U.S. patents granted in the relevant areas of flexible displays.
Finally, the report presents vendor and stakeholder analysis with an overview of the major stakeholder classes engaged in flexible display commercialization. It also analyzes the activities of key players in this domain.
This report considers the following applications:
• E-book readers and tablets.
• Notebooks and PCs.
• Mobile phones and smartphones.
• Gaming devices and media players.
• Automotive and navigation.
• Smartcards and other cards.
• Signage and billboards.
• Retail and logistics.
• Wearables and defense.
It should be noted that this report does not cover television displays. It also does not cover displays used in scientific applications and industrial instruments.
The above list is not an exhaustive coverage of flexible displays and applications. It is widely expected that flexible displays will expand the horizons of present-day display applications and that display manufacturers will discover new surfaces, substrates, and bases that can host display functions.
This report will be relevant to:
• Display technology specialists to directly assess the market potential of their products.
• Supply chain constituents of flexible back-ends to evaluate technologies and applications for focusing their marketing efforts.
• Application device OEMs to ascertain the quantitative difference that flexible displays will make to their products.
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in this study. Primary sources included interviews with industry experts; secondary sources included industry consortia, individual company financial statements, published opinions, and other published sources.
In this report, the geographic regions considered for market analysis include, and only include:
Chapter 2: Summary and Highlights
After several years of uncertainty surrounding their commercial debut, flexible displays now appear closer to reality. The idea of lending flexibility to such a powerful communication mode as a display is laden with the potential for extremely rich and diverse revenue streams. There are, however, compelling technical reasons that have held back flexible displays from their meaningful entry into the market.
For years, designers of flexible displays have been deliberating on the ideal entry-level readiness for their products. The reason for their dilemma is that in a flexible display-based product, flexibility is not restricted to displays. The entire back-end mechanism, as well as other components of the device (e.g., power supplies, input/output modes) must be flexible as well. Current conventional displays service a wide range of devices. It will be nearly impossible for flexible displays to match that breadth soon.
Slowly but surely, stakeholders driving flexible displays are realizing that their products' abilities should
be progressively enhanced.
This chapter presents the executive summary table of the report. The summary table breaks down the display market by display technologies for 2016 and 2017, as well as through 2022.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) will be the principal display technology for flexible displays. At their cores, OLEDs are organic in the choice of substrates and open doors for full flexibility across all display layers, including encapsulants.
The movement toward flexible OLEDs has been instrumental in the development of technologies that can bring lasting solutions to backplane issues. Flexible thin-film transistors (TFTs) are being actively investigated and worked upon by several companies, and the credit for that development must go to the early successes encountered in the development of flexible OLEDs.
The dominance of flexible OLEDs is not pervasive across end applications. It would be appropriate to mention that but for smartphones going flexible, the battle between electrophoretic displays (EPDs) and OLED was evenly poised. OLEDs are being patronized by most of the leading display makers, who have committed to building or have already built dedicated production lines for that purpose.
EPDs took an early lead with companies such as Sony building flexible backplanes almost a decade back. They are effective in static display applications and basic graphics. They have been instrumental in expanding the ambit of display functions as they are currently known.
Flexible displays have multiple connotations, with the simpler one making present display usage flexible and the complex one developing completely new use cases. EPDs opened doors to newer use cases, although with a limited impact and spread. When they are ready for complete flexibility, OLEDs will target the next generation of use cases, primarily in healthcare, defense and sensing applications.
Full-flexible OLEDs are far from ready. Serious concerns still exist regarding their performance in larger form factor devices, as well as their ability to insulate themselves against moisture and oxidation. The latter limitation has been a shot in the arm for display glass makers who have launched ultrathin and flexible glass.
Such glass is rollable and bendable to a limited extent, but it is several magnitudes superior in performance in terms of its ability to keep moisture and oxidation at bay. Other technologies such as electrowetting, cholesteric liquid crystal displays (ChLCDs) and flexible liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are currently championed by a limited set of companies. The primary champions must successfully commercialize at least one product for the partner ecosystem to develop and spread their influence in other use-cases.
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