Global sales of smartphones with AMOLED panels is set to surpass 600 million units by the end of 2020 with a year on year (YoY) growth of 46 per cent, a new report by Counterpoint Research has said. According to Counterpoint's "Display Market Outlook" report, the growth will come from the diffusion of AMOLED into mid-tier price bands, driven by Chinese brands like Huawei, Vivo, OPPO, Realme and Xiaomi, as they seek to differentiate their offerings.
"Displays drive a major part of the overall smartphone experience. In 2019, smartphone displays gained a lot of attention, in a bid to attract users to upgrade their smartphones.
Some notable supply chain efforts included reducing the screen to body ratio, increasing the refresh rate, changing the form factor (foldable) or innovating with other components to get more real estate for the display (smaller notch, punch hole camera, pop-up camera, in-display fingerprint sensor, image sensors)," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.
"These innovations further drove the growth of AMOLED as the technology is best suited to leverage these trends thanks to superior image quality, reduced power consumption and flexible form factors, among other things. Hence, we believe that AMOLED-based smartphones will remain in demand with Chinese smartphone brands aggressively adopting them for their mid-tier portfolio."
Although AMOLED is a preferred choice for smartphone brands, there are still some reservations that might lead to a slower transition from LCD to OLEDs.
Samsung display currently accounts for close to 90 per cent of the OLED panel market.
"Samsung remained the leading smartphone vendor, capturing 45 per cent of the total AMOLED smartphone sales in 2019 followed by Apple with 16 per cent share and OPPO with 11 per cent share. However, all the leading brands have launched their flagships in 2019 with AMOLED panels," said Jene Park, Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.
"But Chinese players led by Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi have now adopted OLED panels in their mid-tier portfolios ($300-$500) to differentiate their products. This is one of the key reasons for the growth of AMOLED smartphones. In future we expect these brands to further bring the AMOLED smartphones to the sub-$200 price tier in 2020." Apple is also likely to go for an all OLED portfolio in its next launch cycle. These factors will further lead to the growth of AMOLED based smartphones in 2020".
Other brands that have LCD fabs like BOE, Tianma, CSOT are transitioning fast but might take some time to arrive with good volume.
The demand for AMOLED in other product categories like wearables, TVs will further put a supply constraint on existing OLED panel makers.
A majority of the other smartphone brands in sub-$200 will continue to use LCD panels. Hence we believe that AMOLED's growth will be upwards but a lot will also depend on the production capacity of the panel makers.