OLED Panel Revenues to Grow 8% in 2019 to $29 Billion

Published February 19, 2019

OLED panel revenues will increase by 8% in 2019 to $28.6 billion, according to the latest update of the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report for Q1 2019, with double-digit growth in area and units, as OLED continues to take a larger share of smartphone and TV shipments.

The Q1 update of this report gives DSCC’s revised forecast for 2019 for eleven different applications for OLED panels, with detailed figures for units, revenue, area, average selling price (ASP), and other parameters with splits by application, panel supplier, substrate (rigid/flexible/foldable), and brand. The report also provides final figures for Q4’18 and for the full year 2018 with the same detail.

Q4’18 Results

OLED panel revenues came in at $8.0 billion in Q4’18, down a slight 1% from Q3 and down 9% from Q4 2017, as shown in the first chart. Revenues from smartphone panels amounted to $6.7 billion, a 17% decline from the prior year figure, but revenues for TVs were up 32% Y/Y to $577 million. During 2018, smartwatch emerged as the clear #3 application for OLED revenues, even surpassing TV for the #2 spot in Q4 with revenues of $581 million for 134% Y/Y growth. Revenues from all other applications increased by 15% to $214 million.

Quarterly OLED Panel Revenues by Application, 2016-2018

The decline in OLED panel revenues in Q4 was a result of lower ASPs for both rigid and flexible panels. In unit terms, OLED smartphone panel shipments in Q4 came in at 119 million, a 2% increase over Q4 2017, and OLED panels for all applications amounted to 145 million, an 11% increase over the prior year and an all-time record. Smartwatches helped the unit figure with a 123% Y/Y increase to 21.1 million units, and while TVs do not add much to the unit total OLED TV panel units grew 29% to 816 thousand.

​OLED panel shipment area reached an all-time high of 1.9 million square meters in Q4, up 2% Q/Q and 22% Y/Y. Smartphone panel area increased 16% to 1.1 million square meters, while TV panel area increased 31% to 775,000 square meters.

Full Year 2018 Results

For the full year 2018, OLED revenues increased 13% from 2017 to $26.5 billion. Smartphone panels continued to dominate the revenue picture with $22.5 billion in 2018, but this represented only 11% growth Y/Y. OLED TV panel revenues, driven by stable or even increasing panel prices and growing volumes, increased 61% Y/Y to $2.1 billion, and OLED smartwatch panel revenues increased 58% to $1.2 billion. The revenue for OLED panels in all other applications declined by 23% to $727 million, as revenues declined in OLED tablets, touch bars, and VR headsets.

OLED unit shipments increased 10% for the full year 2018 to 495 million, with smartphones again dominating the numbers, but again showing slower growth. OLED Smartphone panels reached 434 million units in 2018, an 8% increase over 2017, while smartwatches increased 61% to 46 million, and TVs increased 66% to 2.9 million.

OLED panel shipment area increased 34% Y/Y to 6.7 million square meters. Smartphones continued to be the largest application for OLED display area, representing 56% of the total at 3.8 million square meters, but smartphone panel area growth lagged the industry at 19%. OLED TV panel area increased by 67% Y/Y to 2.8 million square meters, and grew to 41% of all OLED area for the year.

​2019 Forecast

DSCC expects area shipments to increase by 25% in 2019 to 8.4 million square meters, with strong growth in both smartphones and TVs, as shown in the next chart, with smartphone area growth of 22% added to TV area growth of 27%. TVs will increase their share of area shipments to 42% in 2019, with smartphones at 55%. The area for all other applications, although we expect it will have an impressive 53% growth in 2019, will still amount to only 3% of total area.

OLED Panel Shipment Area, 2016 – 2019FC

OLED revenues across all applications will increase 8% Y/Y to $28.6 billion in 2019, with smartphone panel revenues increasing a modest 5% to $23.7 billion, and the smartphone share of OLED panel revenues declining to 83%. TV panel revenues are forecast to increase by 20% to $2.5 billion, with their share of OLED revenues increasing to 9%, and smartwatch revenues are forecast to increase by 25% to $1.5 billion, representing 6% of the industry total. After a bad year in 2018, the revenues for all other OLED applications are expected to rebound in 2019 to $987 million, with substantial growth in notebook panel revenue leading the way.

​In unit terms, OLED panel shipments are forecast to increase by 16% to 572 million, with smartphone panel shipments growing by 14% to 494 million or 86% of the total, and smartwatches growing by 23% to 56 million or 10% of the total. TV units, while they will remain less than 1% of the total in unit terms, are expected to grow by 28% to 3.7 million.
As shown in the next chart, OLED TV panel shipments grew 66% in 2018 to 2.9 million units, with growth across all screen sizes. In 2019 we expect that growth will slow to 28% as LGD will be capacity constrained before it fully ramps its G8.5 fab in Guangzhou, China starting in the 2nd half of 2019. We forecast that 55” TV panels will increase 31% in 2019 to 2.4 million, while 65” will increase 23% to 1.2 million and 77” will increase 31% to 34,000 units.

OLED TV Shipments 2016-2019

The DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report includes far more detail than these top-line figures show; the report includes details by panel maker. The next chart shows OLED smartphone panel shipments by panel maker for 2016-2019 (note the offset horizontal axis – otherwise Samsung dominates the chart too much). While Samsung will continue to dominate the industry with 85% of all unit shipments in 2019, their share will erode from 94% in 2018 (and 99% in 2016) as shipments from all non-Samsung panel makers will increase 191% Y/Y to 73 million units, with LGD, BOE and Visionox staking out the #2 through #4 positions, respectively.

OLED Smartphone Panel Shipments 2016-2019FC

Beyond smartphones, several panel makers have substantial shares of smartwatches. LG Display led this category in 2018 with 17.1 million units compared to 13.7 million for Samsung, and LGD will continue to lead in 2019 with an expected growth of 40% to 24.5 million units. Everdisplay (EDO) is expected to surpass Samsung for the #2 position in smartwatch with 15 million units, pushing Samsung into the #3 position with an expected 11.5 million units in 2019. BOE is expected to take the #4 position in this category in 2019 with 5 million units.

While the main focus of the report is OLED, the report also includes data by major brand for LCD smartphone panels as well, as shown in the last chart. We expect OLED panel shipments to Apple to increase only 6% Y/Y to 85 million units, while LCD smartphone panel shipments to Apple will decline by 15% to 145 million. Shipments to Samsung Mobile will decline in 2019 in both OLED and LCD, by 4% for each, to 208 million and 100 million, respectively.

Smartphone Panel Shipments to Major Brands, 2016-2019FC

The main growth in OLED smartphone panel shipments will come from shipments to China brands and Other brands, with OLEDs increasing from 138 million in 2018 to 201 million in 2019, a 46% increase, while LCD panel shipments to those brands are expected to decline by 3% to 903 million. As can be seen on the chart, the total panel shipments for smartphones will be flat Y/Y; we expect a total of 1641 million panel shipments in 2019.

​As noted above, the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report provides a comprehensive listing of historical panels shipments for all applications, plus a forecast of units, ASPs, screen sizes, resolutions, panel suppliers, and revenues for each application. Readers interested in subscribing to the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report should contact gerry@displaysupplychain.com.

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Written by

Ross Young