OLED Revenues Expected to Increase 36% Y/Y in 1H 2021

Published April 21, 2021

OLED panel revenues will increase by 36% Y/Y in the first half of 2021, according to the latest update of the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment Report, as increased panel shipments for smartphones are combined with revenue growth in TVs, smartwatches and other applications.

The Q1 update of this report gives actual shipments for Q4 2020 and DSCC’s estimates for Q1 and Q2 2021, plus DSCC’s forecast for 2021 to 2025 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/rollable) and brand. The report also provides a quarterly forecast for 2021 with the same detail. In this article, we will cover DSCC’s estimated results through the first half of 2021, and a separate article on DSCC’s OLED Supply/Demand report will cover the long-term forecast. Subscribers to the report, of course, can see all the results in the Excel file.

Like many other things in the electronics industry, the Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 numbers have been affected by the timing of Apple’s iPhone 12 model releases. The later release dates of 2020 accelerated sales in Q4 and pushed some sales into Q1 2021 as capacity was unable to meet demand in the fourth quarter. OLED panel revenues in Q4 2020 totaled $11.9B, up 46% Y/Y, and revenues for the full year 2020 increased 20% Y/Y to $33.2B. Our estimate for Q1 2021 shows revenues at $9.1B, up 38% compared to Q1 2020, and we expect Q2 2021 revenues of $7.5B, up 34% from the prior year.

The pattern of OLED panel revenues is heavily weighted by smartphones, by far the largest application by revenues for OLED technology, as shown in the next chart. OLED panel revenues increased across all applications: we estimate that OLED smartphone revenues will rise 36% Y/Y in Q1 2021, while OLED TV panel revenues will grow 55% Y/Y, smartwatch panel revenues will increase 35% Y/Y and the revenues for all other applications will expand 40% Y/Y.

Quarterly OLED Panel Revenues by Application, 2016-2021

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report

Within the smartphone category, the report allows an analysis of brand trends with detail to the model level on major smartphone brands. The influence of Apple can be seen by the next chart on smartphone panel revenue share by brand. Since it first introduced OLED panels into iPhones in 2017, Apple has shown a persistent seasonal pattern of a weak first half and a strong second half. But the delayed launch of iPhone 12 meant that Apple continued to dominate OLED smartphone panel revenues in Q1 2021. The strength of the iPhone 12 product line means that we expect Apple to maintain the leading revenue share in Q2 2021.

Quarterly OLED Smartphone Panel Revenue Share by Brand, 2018-2021

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report

DSCC estimates that OLED panel unit shipments across all applications will increase 41% Y/Y in Q1 2021 to 181M, driven mostly by increases in smartphone and smartwatch units. OLED smartphone panel shipments are estimated to be up 45% Y/Y to 143M, while OLED smartwatch shipments are estimated to increase by 28% to 29M. We estimate that growth in OLED TV units will be even more impressive in unit terms, increasing 89% Y/Y to 1.6M, and this will accelerate further with 133% Y/Y growth in Q2 2021.

The report includes segmentation by substrate type, as shown in the next chart. While rigid OLED panels were the majority of smartphone shipments through 2019, flexible OLED panels surpassed rigid panels in 2020 and continue to outnumber rigid panels in Q1 2021. Flexible OLED panels represented an estimated 62% of all OLED smartphone panels, with rigid panels at 37% and foldable panels at less than 1%. Our report includes a forecast for rollable OLED panels, and we will start tracking that substrate configuration when the shipments start.

Quarterly OLED Panel Shipments by Substrate, 2018-2021

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report

The report allows a comparison of shipments by panel maker. While OLED smartphone shipments continue to be dominated by Samsung, and OLED TV shipments remain a monopoly for LGD, there is healthy competition among many panel makers in the growing smartwatch segment, as shown in the next chart. LGD captured a leading share in 2020 with strong shipments to Apple for the Apple Watch, but we estimate that BOE narrowly outpaced LGD and Truly in Q1 2021 for the #1 spot. All three of those panel makers – BOE, LGD and Truly – are estimated to have captured more than 20% of the smartwatch market in Q1 2021.

Quarterly OLED Smartwatch Panel Shipments by Brand, 2018-2021

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report

In area terms, TV surpassed smartphone for the first time ever in Q3 2020, and although smartphone surged past TV in Q4, we estimate that TV area will again reclaim the lead in Q1 2021, as shown in the following chart. OLED shipment area across all applications is expected to increase by an estimated 63% Y/Y in Q1 2021 to 3.0M square meters. OLED TV panel shipment should increase by 85% Y/Y in Q1 2021 to 1.5M square meters to account for 49% of all OLED panel area, while OLED smartphone panel shipment area will increase 44% to 1.4M square meters.

Quarterly OLED Area Shipments by Application, 2018-2021

Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report
Source: DSCC’s Quarterly OLED Panel Shipment Report

As noted above, the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment 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 Report should contact gerry@displaysupplychain.com.

Correction - an earlier version of this blog incorrectly stated that they Y/Y revenue increase in 1H 2021 was 29%. The correct figure is 36%. We apologize for the error.

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Written by

Bob O'Brien

bob.obrien@displaysupplychain.com