Foldable displays are down, but not out, says DSCC

August 08, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Foldable displays
Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) has released its 2019 Foldable Display Market Update and Outlook Report, a 80-page document offering a deep insight into the status and outlook of foldable smartphones, tablets and notebooks and their displays.

The report first examines the current status of the first foldable smartphones from Royole, Samsung and Huawei. It covers what problems they have dealt with and solutions they have implemented. It also reveals cross sections of the foldable panels revealing thicknesses and suppliers for the different layers above and below the panels including hard coats, colorless polyimide, OCA, black matrix, polarizers, touch sensors, adhesive materials, cushion films, frames and more.

The report reveals 360K foldable panels are expected to be shipped in 2019 with foldable devices amounting to less than 250K units. However, by 2023, foldable displays are expected to reach over 68M and generate over $8B in revenues. Examining the foldable roadmaps, product plans and strategy for 11 different brands, DSCC sees clamshells accounting for at least a 60% unit share of the foldable smartphone market from 2020-2023 even though they aren’t in the market yet.

In addition, DSCC sees ultra-thin glass (UTG) from Schott significantly penetrating the foldable market from 2020. The market research firm expects Samsung to launch 2 to 3 products in 2020 with UTG with an aggressive folding radius while enjoying the scratch resistance and hardness of glass as well as the touch experience consumers have grown accustomed to. DSCC also expects to see products that combine clamshell form factors with UTG in 2020.
The next chapter examines all the foldable panel suppliers in terms of their foldable product plans, unyielded capacity, yielded capacity and compares and forecasts yields across the suppliers, including Samsung Display, BOE Technology, LG Display, Royole, Visionox, China Star, AUO and EDO.
Then, DSCC gives detailed cost and price forecasts, ending up the report with foldable unit shipment and revenue forecasts for all foldable applications. In all, foldable panels for smartphones, tablets and notebooks are expected to grow at a 272% CAGR from 0.36M in 2019 to 68.8M in 2023, with corresponding revenues forecast to grow at a 242% CAGR from $62M in 2019 to $8.4B in 2023.

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