With smartphone brands adopting active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels for their premium phones, Samsung Display continued to lead the smartphone panel market in the third quarter (Q3) of 2018, widening the gap with the rest of the suppliers.
According to the flash data from the latest Smartphone Display Shipment and Price Tracker report by IHS Markit, Samsung Display shipped 114 million units of smartphone displays in Q3 2018, followed by BOE with 66 million units and Tianma with 53 million units.
Apple released its new models -- the iPhone XS and XS Max -- with full-screen AMOLED panels in September 2018. Huawei also launched the Mate 20 Pro and 20 X – its premium models – in October, again, with full-screen AMOLEDs targeting the year-end shopping season. Other major smartphone brands, including Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, also released premium smartphones with full-screen AMOLED panels.
Although Samsung Electronics was the first that adopted the full-screen AMOLED panel for its smartphones, Apple’s decision to apply AMOLED panels to its new iPhones in 2018 directly impacted the market, increasing demand for AMOLED panels in the second half of 2018. As a result, Samsung Display, a leading AMOLED panel supplier, enjoyed the demand increase from not only Apple but also Chinese smartphone brands in Q3, dominating the market.
In contrast, BOE and Tianma, both major suppliers of low temperature poly-silicon liquid crystal display (LTPS LCD) panels to Chinese smartphone makers, saw a decrease in their panel shipments in Q3, even though Q3 is usually a peak season.
In the meantime, the price of premium smartphones with AMOLED panels is set at higher than $800. Consumer response to the premium AMOLED smartphones and mid-end LTPS LCD smartphones based on cost-efficiency will be key to the smartphone panel demand competition between AMOLED and LTPS LCD in 2019.
The Smartphone Display Shipment and Price Tracker by IHS Markit contains monthly updates of smartphone display shipments of major display suppliers by business type (module and cell) and by technology (AMOLED, LTPS LCD and a-Si TFT LCD), including panels for feature phones. It also provides monthly display panel pricing trends.