Once focused on unit growth, the entire global flat-panel display (FPD) industry is now shifting to focus on area-demand growth. According to IHS, display panel shipments for all FPD applications grew 9%, year over year, to reach 168.9-million-square-meters in 2014. Total FPD display area demand is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5 percent from 2012, reaching 223.6 million square meters in 2020.
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“The trend toward bigger displays continued in the flat panel display industry in 2014,” said Yoshio Tamura, director of display research for IHS Technology, formerly with DisplaySearch. “There were four major driving forces leading to a strong upgrade of the average FPD display sizes: consumer demand for larger LCD TVs, soaring demand for 5-inch-and-larger smartphones, larger automotive display screens, and larger tablet PCs.”
The annual area growth demand rate for major FPD applications in 2015 is forecast to reach 5 percent, which is down from 9 percent in 2014. Slowing growth is mainly caused by the maturity of some FPD applications, and a slowdown in the trend toward larger size screens for LCD TVs and smart handheld devices.
*See Figure 2
“New TV sizes launched by LCD and OLED panel makers mean that consumers now have more chances to trade up to larger sizes,” Tamura said. “For smartphones, especially in the Chinese market and developing countries, bigger screens have been triggered by higher resolution requirements, longer battery life, and shifts in user behavior.”
Apple, HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and other mobile PC brands have begun to launch products with larger screens. New operating systems and convertible form factors are leading to displays growing from 10 inches to 12.9 inches in 2015, which will also add to FPD area demand.
For each FPD product category, IHS noted several reasons for the increase in the total FPD area base, including the following:
1. LCD TV – 4K, 8K, ultra-slim type, slim bezel, better picture quality by wider color gamut and dynamic contrast ratio, new sizes launched by the panel makers, new smart TV platform
2. Smartphone – higher resolution, slim design, bezel-less design, abundant ecosystem, component integration
3. Mobile PC – higher resolution, better screen performance with the introduction of OLED, entry into the commercial and educational market
4. Automotive – better user interface and touch performance, growing numbers of hybrid energy and electronic cars equipped with a larger and better screens, full dashboard digitalization, demand for bigger central information displays (CIDs), and the introduction of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for smart cars