According to a new 6-year market report on display technologies from market intelligence firm Tractica, flexible display shipments are on the rise and may increase to 643 million units yearly by the year 2022. The report itself, released on October 4, goes into far more detail and covers a range of other topics related to display technologies. However, among the more interesting points made by the report is that the split between the available technologies for creating those displays increases pretty dramatically over that time period. OLED will, unsurprisingly, leading the way by a huge margin. That shouldn't be altogether shocking since many devices with screens already sport flexible panels, including smartphones, vehicle dashboards, and the control panels on home appliances, but Tractica's report takes things a bit further and envisions their use in a wide variety of new applications, as well.
With regard to the actual numbers involved in the flexible displays, the Tractica report sees the use of LED displays as having already effectively flatlined, while E-paper and LCD displays will not even manage to reach 100 million units in annual terms of shipments by 2022. That's a drastic contrast to OLED flexible panels, which are already expected to be at above 169.9 million units in 2017 alone. From there, the increase will only increase more rapidly, one chart provided by Tractica indicates. The chart shows OLED flexible displays hitting and surpassing 300 million units shipped in 2019, 400 million in 2020, and no fewer than 500 million units per year sometime between 2021 and 2022.
Beyond smartphones such as Samsung's Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and Galaxy Note 8 or the newly announced second-generation Google Pixel devices, Tractica predicts that the increased demand for the displays will put them in a position, in terms of pricing and manufacturing efficiency, to be used in more technologies. Of course, that includes an expanding number of wearables and tablets but the prediction extends well past those more mundane uses, too. In fact, it could put them in a position to be used in smart cards, e-writers and e-readers, vehicle dashboards, television and other video content displays, and marketing - including their use in shelving labels and business signs. It seems that, at that point, the range of uses for the shapeable, energy-efficient displays will be mostly limited by the level of ingenuity of those holding leadership roles in the world's industries.