A new report from UBI Research predicts that flexible and folding screens will lead to a boom in the manufacture and shipments of OLED displays over the next 5 years. That shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, given how suitable OLED has proven to be in the creation of flexible and folding displays. That's helped along by efforts from both well-known manufacturers, such as LG, Samsung, and Apple, as well as less well-known manufacturers that are beginning to take a spotlight in the market. In total, the market is said to reach around 1.68 billion shipments, with flexible OLED making up around 1.285 billion – or 76.5 percent – of those shipments by 2022.
In terms of flexible OLED shipments, the figures represent a relatively massive annual growth of around 41 percent from the just 409 million units expected to ship in 2019. The displays will also take the lion's share of the full-screen display shipments required for bezel-free Android phones, with the UBI Research report predicting flexible OLEDs to take around 82.1 percent of that market segment over 2018. On the other hand, and perhaps predictably, rigid OLED shipments will begin to decline over that five-year time frame. However, they will retain the lead over the course of 2018 and in 2019 with around 480 million units shipped in 2019, compared to the above-mentioned 409 million flexible displays shipped.
According to UBI Research, that puts the sales figures for flexible display units in the year 2022 at around $59.4 billion. It bears repeating that current trends with manufacturers from Samsung to Huawei and Xiaomi attempting to fit their consumer products across the pricing spectrum increasingly smaller bezels are a major driving force behind the growth being predicted here. Meanwhile, device manufacturers such as ZTE and Samsung are also pushing hard to bring the first true folding displays to market, which may mark that segment as the next big driver for display shipment growth. In fact, UBI Research predicts folding display shipments are expected to hit around 53 million units shipped in that same year – which is a 960 percent increase from 2019. In the meantime, alternative display technologies such as Micro-LED and Mini-LED are not likely to overtake OLED anytime soon, either, making the display technology an increasingly important product for manufacturers over the next 5 years. That's primarily down to OLED's relatively affordable manufacturing processes, in addition to the ease with which the technology can be used to create flexible displays.