2018 Smartwatch Display Shipments Reach 149m up 42% Y/Y
April 08, 2019
Since the release of the Samsung Galaxy Gear in 2013 and the Apple Watch debuted in 2014, smart watch displays have increased sharply, growing more than 15 times over the past four years from 9.4 million units in 2014. The increasing demand for smartwatches has boosted the demand for the underlying display technologies used in their manufacture. In 2018, RitDisplay led the market for smartwatch displays, with a 22 per cent share. The company shipped 32.5m mono-color passive-matrix organic light emitting diode (PMOLED) panels, used in low-priced strap-style smartwatches from Xiaomi and other Chinese brands. BOE was #2 with a 12 per cent market share shipping 17.9m units of OLED TFT LCD panels to mid-tier and high-end smartwatches from Huawei and other Chinese brands. The third largest player, LG Display, had shipments of 16.1m units of flexible AMOLED panels for the Apple Watch with an 11 per cent market share.
Figure 1: Smart Watch Display Shipments by Technology
While the Galaxy Gear, the Apple Watch and other high-end smartwatches have adopted flexible AMOLED panels, simple and low-end strap-style smartwatches use mono-color PMOLED panels. Shipments of amorphous silicon (a-Si) and low temperature poly-silicon (LTPS) TFT LCD panels have also increased for mid-tier smartwatches since the production cost is lower than for AMOLED panels.