According to reports coming out of South Korea earlier today, quarterly sales of flexible OLED panels at Samsung's display-making unit crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time during the third quarter of this year. Samsung Display, which happens to be the conglomerate's display panel manufacturing arm, is one of the major suppliers of OLED panels worldwide, and with the growing popularity of AMOLED panels in smartphones and other personal gadgets, the company's sales and profits have both been rising rapidly with every passing year. The company currently supplies its products to a number of global technology companies, including sister concern, Samsung Electronics, alongside a number of other large smartphone vendors, such as Huawei, OPPO and Vivo. Samsung Display is also expected to supply at least 100 million OLED panels to Apple for the next-generation iPhones.
According to data published earlier today by market research firm IHS, Samsung Display continues to remain the largest supplier in the global OLED market with a 31.8% share. JDI came in at number two with just 15.4% market share, while LG Display made the top three with 13.1% of the market. Samsung, however, completely dominates the landscape when it comes to small and medium-sized panels with a whopping 96.2% market share. While Samsung sold $3.668 billion worth of OLED panels during the third quarter, the company's flexible OLED sales for the period came in at $1.053 billion, which was a whopping 68.7% increase over the same period last year. IHS Market now predicts that the global demand for flexible OLED panels will grow by leaps and bounds over the next few years to hit $18.98 billion by 2020.
For context, the overall market for flexible OLEDs is expected to be just $3.97 billion this year, although by 2018, the number is expected to hit $12.83 billion. One of the major reasons for the projected growth in the sales of flexible OLED displays is the growing consumer appetite for such panels on their smartphones. That demand is expected to rise exponentially over the next few years, with flexible OLEDs accounting for one out of every two panels sold in 2020. This year, though, the numbers are much more muted, with flexible panels accounting for only 10% of the entire smartphone display market.