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Global Markets, Technologies and Applications for Flexible Displays

  • September 2013
  • -
  • BCC Research
  • -
  • 193 pages


Table of Contents


This report provides:
An overview of the market for flexible displays, whose end-use applications can be utilized in such sectors as medicine, consumer electronics, automotive, telecommunications, industrial, scientific, defense, transportation, and retail and logistics
Analyses of global market trends, with data from 2011 and 2012, estimates for 2013, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through 2018
Discussion of the technology involved, including organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), electrophoretic, and electrowetting
A breakdown of devices in the market, such as E-readers, notebooks, mobile phones, signage, tablets, and E-papers
A breakdown of the market by region, including the Americas; Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific
Comprehensive company profiles of major players in the industry.


A flexible display is a display whose form can be temporarily altered without affecting its functioning. In simpler words, flexible displays can be bent, rolled, and twisted, without damage. It should be clarified that not every flexible display can support extreme change in form. This report considers any display whose form can be reasonably altered as flexible.After several years of uncertainty surrounding their commercial debut, flexible displays now appear closer to reality. There can be no two opinions about the market potential for flexible displays. The idea of lending flexibility to such a powerful communication mode as a display is laden with the potential of extremely rich and diverse revenue streams. There are, however, compelling technical reasons that have held back flexible displays from a meaningful entry into the market.Present-day display technologies that use a rigid base have set the bar very high in terms of picture quality, rich video support, technology upgrades, and competitive pricing. For years, designers of flexible displays have been making up their minds about the ideal entry-level readiness for their products. The reason for their dilemma is that in a flexible display-based product, flexibility is not restricted to displays. The entire back-end mechanism, as well as other components of the device such as power supplies, and any other input/output modes, need to be flexible as well. Current conventional displays service a wide range of devices. It will be nearly impossible for flexible displays to match that breadth in the near future. Slowly but surely, stakeholders driving flexible displays are realizing that their products’ abilities will have to be progressively enhanced.The commercialization of flexible displays hinges squarely on the successful synthesis of a flexible substrate. Present-day candidates for flexible substrate materials are derived mostly from organic molecules and compounds. These have poor temperature resistance capabilities. Designers therefore cannot apply mainstream semiconductor fabrication techniques to these substrates.The search for alternative fabrication techniques has led stakeholders to look elsewhere: the printing industry. Printing techniques are complicated and cost-effective, but not as rich in output as semiconductor fabrication techniques. The initial years of flexible display commercialization will be dominated by applications that are not too demanding on video capabilities and form factors.These limitations and challenges should not make us lose track of the larger picture. Flexible displays are credible game changers, especially in applications that are faced with the prospects of declining revenues.This report forecasts the exciting path that flexible displays will embark on in the next five years.


This study’s goals and objectives are:
To measure and forecast the market size for flexible displays, broken down by key applications internalizing them in value as well as volume terms.
To break down the overall flexible display market along individual applications, including:
E-book readers and tablets.
Notebooks and personal computers (PCs).
Mobile phones and smartphones.
Portable media players.
Automotive and navigation.
Smartcards and other cards.
Signage and billboards (called hoardings in the U.K.).
Retail and logistics.
Wearables and defense.
To break down the individual flexible display application market along display emission technologies, including:
Organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Electrophoretic displays (EPD).
o Electrowetting + Choleric liquid crystal display (ChLCD) + Photonic Crystal.
To break down the individual flexible display application market along specific geographic regions:
The Americas.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Asia-Pacific (APAC).
To break down the individual flexible display application market along the following countries in value and volume terms:
South Korea.
To analyze the stakeholder landscape in the flexible display commercialization endeavors.
To analyze the patenting activity involving flexible displays.
It should be noted that this report does not cover television displays. It also does not cover displays used in scientific applications and industrial instruments.The sales as well as shipment units are measured in thousands, and not millions. This is done so that the reader has a clearer idea of the market breakdown along various parameters, especially in the early years of flexible display commercialization.


During the past few months, the market has been agog with excitement generated by announcements made by Samsung and LG regarding their plans to introduce smartphones with flexible displays in the near future. These announcements are the first meaningful public confirmation of the commercial debut of flexible displays in a critical market. (They have been preceded by comparatively low-key pronouncements of the readiness of flexible displays in less exacting markets such as e-book readers and smartcards, among others.) As the market is clearly in the fledgling stage, there is a compelling need to clarify the nature of technologies and stakeholders that are driving flexible display commercialization. There is a real need for analyzing the challenges that have hindered such commercialization so far. Finally, stakeholders driving flexible displays also need to have a firm grip on the market potential of individual applications internalizing the technology in key country markets spread over diverse geographical regions.This report aims at addressing these requirements.


The report forecasts the size of the market in current U.S. dollars for flexible displays in value and volume terms, from 2013 through 2018. The report forecasts the market size for:
Flexible display-based applications such as e-book readers and tablets; notebooks and PCs; mobile phones and smartphones; portable media players; automotive and navigation; smartcards and other cards; signage and billboards; retail and logistics; wearable and defense.
Forecasts are classified on the basis of display emission technologies, geographic region, and individual country markets.
The Executive Summary provides a snapshot of the market for flexible displays and the share of principal display technologies that constitute it.The chapter on the overview of flexible displays provides a theoretical base for discussing the flexible display market at length. It covers the front-end as well as back-end design aspects. Key front-end display emission technologies are explained in context to their suitability for flexible displays. The chapter also includes a high-level breakdown of the global market for flexible displays.The chapter on the global market for flexible displays in key applications further breaks down individual applications by display technologies and geographical regions in sales as well as unit shipments.The chapter on the Americas analyzes the market for flexible displays in the Americas region. It presents the overall market metrics and overview of the region followed by analyses of major countries in the region such as the U.S., Brazil, Canada, and Mexico.The chapter on Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) analyzes the market for flexible displays in the EMEA region. It presents the overall market metrics and overview of the region followed by analyses of major countries in the region such as Germany, France, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, and Turkey.The chapter on Asia-Pacific (APAC) analyzes the market for flexible displays in the APAC region. It presents the overall market metrics and overview of the region followed by analyses of major countries in the region such as China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Indonesia.The chapter on vendor and stakeholder analysis provides an overview of the major stakeholder classes engaged in flexible display commercialization. It also analyzes the activities of key players in this domain.The U.S. Patent Analysis chapter analyzes the U.S. patents granted in the relevant areas of flexible displays. The chapter classifies the patents awarded according to categories such as composition of substrate layers; deposition techniques and fabrication methodologies for substrates; device-specific display synthesis techniques; emission mechanisms; emission technology-determined screen addressing mechanisms; equipment used in display synthesis; integration techniques for emissive front end and substrate back end; interplay of emission behavior and tactile user input; layout of display within a given device; and mapping of active matrix on the substrate and thin film transistors (TFTs).


This report will be relevant to:
Display emission technology specialists to directly assess the market potential of their products.
Supply chain constituents of flexible back-ends to evaluate technologies and applications for focusing their marketing efforts.
Application device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to ascertain the quantitative difference that flexible displays will make to their products.


Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used in this study. Primary sources included interviews with industry experts; secondary sources included industry consortia, individual company financial statements, published opinions, and other published sources.

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