The TV/laptop market is in recession, and panel prices continue to trade sideways. What are the opportunities in the OLED market in 2024?
Electronic Enthusiast Network reports (Text/Wu Zipeng) According to statistics from market research agency Omdia, LG Electronics shipped 2.0368 million OLED TVs in the first three quarters of this year, with a market share of 55%, ranking first in the world. However, although LG has maintained a good share of the OLED TV market, the total market volume has experienced a significant decline. Omdia data points out that the total global OLED TV shipments this year are expected to be around 5 million units, which is a significant market decline compared with 8 million units in 2022.
At the same time, the current price of medium and large-sized OLED panels has remained basically unchanged, causing the global new display market size to decline to a greater extent, falling below US$100 billion. So, how will OLED panels break the situation in 2024?
OLED panels currently face huge challenges
In fact, in mid-2023, Omdia is relatively optimistic about the development of the OLED market, believing that the shipment volume of large-size OLED panels used in mainstream applications will increase by 8.2%, and the shipment area will increase by 7.8% year-on-year. However, due to the downturn in the TV market and notebook market, this expectation did not materialize in the end.
Judging from terminal data, TV is still the first application for large-size OLED panels, accounting for about 36%. Global LCD TV shipments in 2022 will be approximately 212 million units, of which OLED TV shipments will be approximately 8 million units, with OLED market share approximately 4%. It is not difficult to see that OLED TVs are still in the popularization stage. However, this proportion will not increase but decrease in 2023, and the market will face tremendous pressure.
OLED TV market share has declined, and LCD TVs have taken the opportunity to regain lost ground. The main force among them is of course Mini LED backlight TV, which has the greatest impact on OLED TVs. Previous forecast data stated that from 2020 to 2023, the global shipment penetration rate of Mini LED backlight TVs is expected to increase from 0.2% to 2.8%. It will take until 2027 for the global shipments of Mini LED backlight TVs to be expected to increase. More than OLED. However, the performance of Mini LED backlight TVs exceeded expectations. In 2023, Mini LED TVs already accounted for about 7% of the entire TV market, and in 2024, the market share of Mini LED TVs is expected to increase to 15%.
Like the TV market, the monitor market also faces the same challenges. Due to the entry of Samsung and LG, OLED display had a good growth trend before 2022, and the market penetration rate increased steadily. However, this growth has stagnated in 2023, and overall shipments have dropped by 4 million pieces from 6 million pieces, a very large decline. The impact also comes from Mini LED backlight technology. As Mini LED terminal products gradually become more affordable, this technology product is rapidly increasing in major terminal markets. It is estimated that by 2027, the shipment volume of Mini LED backlight panels may reach 31.45 million units, and by 2023 The average annual growth rate until 2027 is approximately 23.9%. Moreover, the main application areas of Mini LED backlight panels include TVs and monitors.
In the TV market, an even more negative signal is that Sony will not launch any new OLED TV products at CES 2024. The company's flagship OLED TV is still last year's A95L, using the second-generation QD-OLED panel. Compared with the latest technology OLED panels used by Samsung and LG, the competitiveness of Sony OLED TVs will definitely drop significantly. The reason for this is that Sony has shifted its focus from OLED to Mini LED, so Sony's flagship TV this year is a Mini LED backlit TV.
For Sony, an important reason for choosing Mini LED backlit TVs is brightness. Although OLED panels have tried their best to increase the brightness to 3,000 nits, Sony found that many film and television works require more than 4,000 nits to show better quality, and OLED's 3000 nits can only be displayed briefly.
Due to the poor performance of the terminal market, the price of medium and large-sized OLED panels has stagnated for three consecutive quarters. Without volume driving, it is difficult for prices to go down, and there is some vicious circle.
OLED still has huge market opportunities
In the medium and large size panel market, OLED is currently in a very difficult situation. So where are the market opportunities in the future? Let's make statistics next.
The first is to further increase the penetration rate of the smartphone market. From August 2023 to the end of the year, terminal brands such as Huawei, Apple, vivo, OPPO, Xiaomi, realme, and OnePlus have successively launched new phones, and the domestic mobile phone market has gradually improved. According to a report released by market research organization IDC, in the fourth quarter of 2023, China's smartphone market shipped approximately 73.63 million units, a year-on-year increase of 1.2%. It rebounded for the first time after 10 consecutive quarters of year-on-year declines. The recovery of the mobile phone market will have a great impact on panels, especially OLED panels. The agency predicts that the penetration rate of OLED in the smartphone market will exceed 50% in 2023. In the global market, the global AMOLED smartphone panel shipments are approximately 690 million pieces, a year-on-year increase of 16.1%. In addition to Samsung, domestic brands such as BOE, Visionox and Shentianma will also enter the "innovation harvest period." Moreover, some analysts believe that turning around losses in the OLED panel business is the next top priority for domestic panel manufacturers, and the increase in smartphone penetration and shipments will provide a good market platform.
Secondly, increase the penetration rate of OLED in the smart home market. At present, one of the biggest selling points of smart homes is intelligent human-machine interaction. In addition to intelligent functions such as voice and proximity control, panels have gradually become standard equipment for smart home devices. Previously, Visionox also stated that in addition to focusing on the development of mid-to-high-end OLED display products for head customers, it also expanded more innovative applications of OLED panels, including smart homes, portable displays, etc. And we all know that all Visionox products are OLED.
The third point is the automotive market, which is a market where both volume and price are rising. At present, OLED automotive products have been widely used in automotive instrumentation, central control assemblies, car taillights and other fields. Bendable and rollable automotive flexible screens make car cockpit designs more diversified. At CES 2024, BOE, Visionox, Tianma, Visionox, Huike, Samsung, LGD and other manufacturers almost all launched automotive OLED application demonstrations. For example, Visionox's flexible AMOLED vehicle-mounted integrated display terminal solution uses a 12.3-inch full-module dynamically curling flexible AMOLED screen with a curling radius of 8mm and a curling number of more than 100,000 times. The screen can be curled several times in the stored state, saving money. Ultra-large display can be achieved when space is limited. Tianma highlighted the car-standard dynamic curved OLED display, which has R200 stepless adjustment of dynamic curvature, large-size TPOT touch, and a color gamut reaching 100% DCI-P3 color gamut.
The fourth point is the transparent screen product market. OLED display technology has obvious advantages over traditional display panels in the process of realizing transparent display due to its inherent advantages in physical structure. For example, LG's Signature OLED T, the world's first 4K wireless transparent TV, has 4K ultra-high-definition resolution, a 77-inch screen size, and can transmit through wireless signals.
Of course, the popularity of Apple’s Vision Pro will also drive demand for silicon-based OLEDs. A number of professional analysis organizations have provided the disassembly and BOM materials list of Vision Pro. It is worth noting that the cost of two silicon-based OLED displays supplied by Sony is about US$700, accounting for almost 50% of the cost. Forecasts from professional analysis organization DSCC show that global sales of silicon-based OLED technology are not only expected to exceed US$1.3 billion in 2023, but are also expected to double to US$2.6 billion in 2024.
As upstream semiconductor device costs, shipping prices, etc. increase, coupled with sluggish terminal demand, OLED's price-for-volume exchange has limited results, and will cause great operating pressure on enterprises. This has been proven many times for LCD. So, with the poor performance of medium and large-sized panels, it is obviously difficult for Samsung and LG’s large-sized, high-profit strategies to work. OLED manufacturers need to re-examine the market and explore new market opportunities. In addition to the smartphone market, the smart home, vehicle, wearable device, and transparent screen markets all have great potential, and are expected to help OLED alleviate the current market pressure.
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