Fab Utilization Data Updated for January, DSCC Releases Lower Cost Fab Utilization Report

Published January 28, 2019

DSCC has been publishing OLED and mobile LCD fab capacity, input and utilization as part of its Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report for over a year. The utilization data is extremely useful for anyone assessing the health of these companies, their suppliers, the capex outlook and the mobile and OLED TV markets in general. The Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report has been one of our most popular reports due to all the OLED shipment/forecast data as well as the utilization data, however, for companies just interested in the fab utilization data, it can be expensive at $7995-$8995. Thus, we are now making the fab utilization data available at a lower cost of $3495 - $3995 depending on company size. Called the Quarterly OLED and Mobile LCD and Fab Utilization Tracker, it delivers sortable fab utilization data revealing the following information by company by fab:

  • Capacity – sheets and area
  • Input – sheets and area
  • Utilization – sheets and area

Furthermore, the utilization data can be sorted by the following fields:

  • Supplier
  • Country
  • TFT Generation
  • Backplane
  • Frontplane
  • Substrate type – rigid vs. flexible vs. foldable
  • Technology – Mobile OLED, OLED TV, LTPS LCD, Total Mobile and Total OLED

The deliverables include a series of excel pivot tables along with a PPT slide analysis. The period covered includes the previous/current months results + a 1-quarter forward forecast. We first deliver the historical months’ results and then deliver a forecast, resulting in at least 2 deliverables per quarter. Fab by fab capacity, input and utilization data is provided in the report.

In terms of January results, we saw flexible OLED utilization plummet from 64% to 40% as shown below on weakness in China and with Apple. February will likely show an additional drop. The launch of new flagship models in late February from Samsung may result in a boost in March’s results. However, the decline in XS and XS Max demand from Apple after 4 months after its launch is hurting the overall flexible OLED supply/demand situation, just like it did in Q1’18.

In the case of rigid OLEDs for mobile, utilization bottomed out in December at just 44% which was nearly ½ the rate of August. Brands have been reluctant to commit to too much volume from a single high volume source, Samsung Display, and the price gap with LTPS LCDs did not close in 2H’18. LTPS LCDs offer the lowest price and there are numerous sources available so they took share from rigid OLEDs in 2H’18. However, we saw a healthy improvement in rigid OLED utilization in January, jumping to 52%. It was the only technology to show higher utilization and further gains are likely in February. As OLED awareness increases and consumers are willing to pay more for OLEDs, rigid OLEDs are the least costly approach to deliver OLEDs to the customer and rigid OLED adoption is rebounding. We expect to see solid growth for rigid OLEDs in China, offsetting a continued decline in demand for rigid OLEDs within Samsung as it shifts more volume to flexible.

In the case of LTPS LCD fab utilization, it has enjoyed the highest utilization among the competing mobile technologies for the past 5 months. LTPS LCD fab utilization reached a high of 87% in November and has fallen on seasonal weakness to 68% in January. It remains the low priced leader and there are very capable entry level LTPS LCD smartphones under $200. Although LTPS LCD volumes will likely decline some in 2019 and OLED volumes are expected to increase more due to Huawei than Samsung or Apple, they may still remain the leader in fab utilization due to the significant excess capacity currently existing in mobile OLEDs.

Mobile Display Fab Utilization – Flexible OLED vs. Rigid OLED vs. LTPS LCD

LGD’s OLED TV fabs have really been the shining star when it comes to OLED fab utilization on strong demand. Utilization has exceeded 90% for the past 10 consecutive months and we expect this to continue through most of 2019 as it isn’t expected to begin to ramp its 90K substrate per month China OLED TV fab until 2H’19. Its high utilization, recent profitability and strong profitability outlook is causing its competitors to reconsider OLED TV production and we should see more entrants in 2020 and beyond.

One of the interesting data sets to look it from this data is total OLED area inputted. This is valuable for trying to predict material supplier revenues. Input area was up around 25% Q/Q in Q3’18, but was down in Q4’18 on the decline in rigid OLED area inputted. For fab by fab and other details, please contact gerry@displaysupplychain.com for more details on purchasing this report.

OLED TV Fab Utilization – Flexible OLED vs. Rigid OLED vs. LTPS LCD

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Written by

Ross Young