OLED Panel's Special Advantages Have Faded, LCD Will Continue To Dominate The Old Position

- Jan 24, 2020-

At the end of 2017, the layout of major OLED panel manufacturers has become the focus of attention in the industry. However, due to the high cost of production line construction and the efforts to improve the LCD technology, it seems that LCD will continue to occupy the mainstream market position in a short time. .

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED), with its high contrast and high color rendering characteristics, gradually gains momentum. With the use of OLED panels by Apple iPhone X, both in large and small sizes The market and the volume of OLED panels have been pushed to their highest peak ever.

But less than half a year after the iPhone X went on the market, rumors of discontinued production due to poorer sales. In addition, the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) camp has actively developed various technologies to improve color contrast and achieve success. The special advantages of OLED panels have faded. At present, no matter whether it is a large or small size market, LCD will continue to dominate the old position in a short time.

Small-size OLEDs fear oversupply in 2018

After Apple's iPhone X uses OLED panels, manufacturers are rushing to invest in small-sized OLED panels. However, iPhone X sales are not as enthusiastic as expected, and there are rumors that production will be discontinued in 2018. If Chinese manufacturers continue to ramp up and LG joins the battle, oversupply of small-sized OLED panels may occur in 2018 (Figure 1).

Figure 1 iPhone X sales are not as warm as expected, and there are rumors that production will be discontinued in 2018. Image source: Apple

Lin Zemin (Figure 2), the manager of the Industrial and Economic Research Center of ITRI, pointed out that the iPhone X is still the largest user of small-sized OLED screens. However, the sales volume of the iPhone X is far lower than industry expectations. See the relevant suppliers continue to revise the output value estimates. At present, it can be seen that manufacturers have at least reduced their estimated output value by more than 25%.

Figure 2 Lin Zemin, Manager of the Industrial and Economic Research Center of ITRI, pointed out that from the fourth quarter of 2017, we can see that the relevant suppliers are constantly revising the iPhone X's output value estimates.

In 2017, Samsung has almost completely monopolized the market supply of small-sized OLED panels, with a production capacity ratio of up to 92%. However, the largest user iPhone X did not sell as expected. According to the output value disclosed by the relevant suppliers, it can be seen that production is being significantly revised down, and it is even reported that production will be discontinued as soon as the second quarter of 2018. Therefore, in 2018, Samsung's small-sized OLED panel will probably face the dilemma of oversupply.

With the introduction of BOE and LG in the small-sized OLED market, even if it cannot immediately grab a certain market share, it will still be very powerful for Samsung's price containment. The market share and price of small-sized OLEDs may be completely different from 2017 estimates.

Wide color gamut LCD performs well, OLED market share is difficult to increase

For the North American market, the cost of large-sized OLED TV displays still requires 2 to 3 times that of LCDs. However, as the LCD camp is actively improving backlight technology, the LCD display quality has also improved. According to the current display of major international manufacturers at major exhibitions, in fact, the performance of LCD TVs supported by wide color gamut technology is not worse than OLED. Based on this situation, it seems that the expansion of large-scale OLED production lines by panel makers is not as necessary as expected.

Although large-sized OLED TV displays can achieve thinner, higher-contrast performance, consumers' requirements for the thinness and lightness of home displays are not as stringent as for mobile devices. Lin Zemin pointed out that Samsung's recent layout of large-sized displays is still dedicated to actively investing in various technologies to improve contrast and color performance on LCD panels, and its product performance and sales are not worse than LG's OLED TV display. Therefore, judging by consumer response and manufacturer strategies, it may not be possible to see large-size OLED TV displays reaching the domestic market in the short term.

Lin Zemin estimates that even by 2020, the market share of OLED large-size TV displays will probably not exceed 5%. The LCD monitor market will still be dominated by LCD in recent years.