Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology is becoming an increasingly important technology to the future of the television industry but the recent growth pace of revenue and unit shipments has slowed in the fourth quarter, according to data released by market research firm DSCC.

In the period, OLED panels for TVs ranked second by revenue for all device applications, behind only smartphones, with the dollar volume for TV panels reaching $639.1 million in Q4, followed by smartwatch revenues with $638.6 million, according to the Q4 update of the DSCC Quarterly OLED Shipment and Fab Utilization Report.

“We estimate that smartwatch panel revenue will reach $1.88 billion for the full year 2019, an increase of 47% of 2018, while TV revenues of $2.4 billion manage only a 15% increase,” the DSCC said.

OLED TV panel shipments increased 11% year over year in 2019 to 3.2 million units, with the fourth quarter of 2019 registering a meager 3% year over year growth to 842,000 units, the DSCC report shows.

“While LG Electronics remains the biggest customer for OLED TV panels, shipments to LG [from panel maker LG Display] increased only 1% year over year in 2019 to 1.79 million units. LG Display’s second largest customer, Sony, showed 18% growth year over year to 684,000 units.

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The DSCC said LG Display “made great strides in diversifying its customer base in 2019, with big increases in panel shipments to Hisense (+304%), TPV (+59% for the Philips brand), and Panasonic (+39%) among others. Each of those brands markets OLED TVs outside of the United States.

Thus far, OLED TV panel shipments (WRGB type) remain the exclusive domain of LG Display, although additional large format OLED panel markers are expected to enter the market in 2020 and beyond.

In its forecasts, DSCC said OLED panel shipments for all applications will increase at a 16% CAGR to 1.07 billion units in 2023, from 500 million units in 2018. Smartphone will continue to dominate the shipments in units, as smartphones represent 84% of all shipments in 2023, down only slightly from 87% in 2018.

For 2020-2023, the DSCC report forecasts TV panel revenues to grow by a 26% CAGR to $6.5 billion, although OLED TV demand forecasts were revised down from 2019 and toward the future, DSCC said

“TV revenue increases will be driven by an increase in average screen size and by the introduction of higher-priced Samsung QD OLED TV (quantum dot/Blu-light-type OLED hybrid) panels to the mix,” according to the DSCC’s analysis.

By Greg Tarr

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