With the wearable device market growing rapidly, flexible displays have also found increased application in smartwatches and other wearable devices. For instance, in 2019, Chinese smartphone maker, Nubia announced its Nubia Alpha smartwatch which offers a 4-inch flexible OLED display and functions similar to a regular smartphone. With growing adoption, wearable smart devices will soon become a mainstream product, augmenting foldable display market growth.
Flexible display market to gain traction as the product sidesteps expensive screen replacement costs
Certainly, glass-based smart devices have a huge drawback of fragility. In fact, dropping a phone on the ground is said to be the key reason for screen shattering, which eventually costs users hundreds of dollars to repair or replace. Reports claim that, in 2017, U.S. smartphone owners broke over 50 million displays, nearly two every seconds, and spent $3.4 billion to replace them.
However, flexible display screens seem to avoid this issue as they are made entirely from plastic or flexible glass that can be bent, crushed, folded, dropped, sat on and even dropped in water, indicating a far more practical choice for extreme environments or everyday use. Safety certifications and approvals have also assured consumers to invest in flexible display products, augmenting business reach.
For instance, in 2018, Samsung Display’s unbreakable smartphone panel was approved by global safety certification company Underwriters Laboratories (UL) after being passed through a rigorous durability test based on military standards set by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Rising demand for smartphones to augment foldable display sales
As the name suggests, foldable smartphones are flexible and can be folded easily without any concern for being damaged. It is a groundbreaking innovation that allows users to fold their device similar to a wallet or open it up to get a tablet-sized screen experience, further offering users with enhanced mobility and convenience.
In fact, the technology’s larger display is said to be the key reason why people are opting for flexible smartphones and the product is gaining traction in multi-touch equipment market. The device can easily multi-task, operating more than two applications on the screen simultaneously. Moreover, being lighter and thinner than traditional laptops and tablets, flexible display-based phones can immensely improve managing and monitoring tasks such as handling messages, calls, and work at the same time.
Furthermore, to offer improved work performance, foldable smartphones are designed with advanced hardware components like high-performance processors, long lasting batteries, enhanced storage, UHD camera and high-speed network support.
Growing investments and collaboration from global tech firms have also expanded the flexible display market reach. For instance, Google has announced its support for upcoming foldable devices with Android and is working closely with Samsung for the launch of its phone in 2020.
Additionally, the company has also offered to invest around 1 trillion won ($880.29 million) to help South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd. boost production of OLED screens for smartphones and secure a steady supply of flexible OLED displays for its upcoming Pixel smartphones.
APAC consumer electronic sector to help propel flexible display market
With the presence of global tech conglomerates including Samsung, LG, Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Sony and more, the APAC foldable display market has experienced tremendous growth lately. According to reports, China holds the largest market share in terms of tech spending, growing 4% in 2019 and 6% in 2020. The nation is also one of the leading markets in the 5G race where its investment accounted for 57% of its overall spending. The country’s tech major Huawei Technologies Ltd. has also scheduled to ship its latest foldable 5G smartphone, the Mate X, in 2019.
In addition to smartphones, LCD makers in the region are actively integrating flexible displays in their new product segments. For instance, at CES 2019, LG unveiled the production version of its first flexible OLED television that rolls out of a tubular device. Moreover, in June 2019, it announced the launch of its 8K OLED TV and rollable TV in South Korea to offer a premium segment with cutting-edge displays and a new form factor. Such advancements will surely boost flexible display business in regional and global markets.
In a nutshell, the foldable display market is a promising sector which is expected to offer manifold profitability to flexible display manufacturers. The unique features of the product will offer benefits to users which will augment user interest in the product. The market comprises highly competitive manufacturers attempting to gain early lead over rivals. Additionally, growing collaborations and investments in R&D activities are supporting flexible display industry growth. Thus, with advanced products being launched worldwide the global foldable display market is anticipated to exceed USD 18 billion by 2025.