Among the nearly 100 presentations at last week’s 2012 FLEX Flexible Electronics & Displays Conference & Exhibition in Phoenix, AZ, sponsored by FlexTech Alliance, were three market forecasts that cut deeply into this breakthrough field, slicing and dicing the details of where money will…or might…be made in the next 10 years. Here are some of the trends, stats and projections that any converter investigating flexible electronics as a future business opportunity needs to know:
Via Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx
- While the market for printed and potentially printed electronics in 2012 is $5.4 billion, most products are not printed and are on glass today.
- Among the mostly-printed items on the market now are sensors ($140 million), e-paper displays for e-readers ($290 million), inorganic electroluminescent displays for signage ($110 million) and printed batteries, logic, memory and electrochromic displays ($30 million).
- More than $10 billion has been invested in OLED development in the past 15+ years, but improvements in LCDs have delayed OLED adoption.
- By 2022, the OLED market may be 20% printed and 17% flexible products. From a total of $4 billion in OLED-display sales this year, the market will climb to $30 billion in displays and $4.5 billion in OLED-lighting sales.
Via Jonathan Melnick, analysts, Lux Research, Inc.
- LCDs are driving the market for everything from mobile devices, tablets and digital cameras to large-area TVs. Sales of smartphones will hit 1 billion units in 2015, up from 500 million last year.
- Active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLEDs) will become cost-competitive with LCDs for small-area displays this year (down to $2,700 per sq meter).
- E-readers were a $600-million market in 2011. The e-paper display accounts for 25-35% of the product cost in a monochrome e-reader.
- OLEDs in smartphones will create a $9-billion market in 2017; TVs, tablets, cameras, desktops and laptops will make up another $2 billion in sales that year.
- Signage and e-readers will grow the non-segmented reflective-display market from $800 million this year to $1.4 billion in 2017. Signage will grow from a tiny fraction now to about 50% of this market in the next five years.
- Reflective displays will dominate the flexible market with a 90% share of a total $250-million field by 2017. There are fewer materials and manufacturing challenges for flexible reflective technologies than for OLEDs.
Via Jennifer Colegrove, president,
emerging display technologies, DisplaySearch
- AMOLEDs are moving into medium-, large-size apps such as tablets and TVs. The Samsung Galaxy Tab with a 7.7-in. display debuted in Europe last December. It will commercialize flexible OLED displays in 2012.
- AMOLED benefits: thin (0.05 mm), 180-deg viewing angle, >100% color gamut, response time of nanoseconds (good for 3D TVs), low power consumption.
- Overall OLED-display shipments will surpass 260 million units this year, reaching 650 million in 2018. Cellphones, laptops and TVs will be primary end-use applications.
- The OLED-lighting market started to pick up in 2011 and will reach $1.5 billion in 2015. OLED lighting needs to diversity for different apps. Both higher efficiency, longer lifetime and high-priced types and lower efficiency, shorter lifetime and lower-priced types are needed. OLED-lighting costs need to be reduced and the efficiency improved for mass adoption to happen.