LED


2021-09-08

Increased Demand on Food Safety Projected to Propel Annual Horticultural Lighting LED Revenue for 2021 to US$399 Million, Says TrendForce

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Thanks to favorable policies by governments worldwide as well as massive adoption of horticultural LED lighting products in the medical and recreational marijuana markets in North America, horticultural lighting LED revenue saw an explosive growth in 2020, reaching US$301 million, a 57% YoY increase, according to TrendForce’s 2021 Global LED Lighting Market Outlook – Light LED and LED Lighting Market Trend report. This growth is expected to maintain its momentum throughout 2021, during which the market is expected to reach US$399 million in revenue, a 33% YoY increase.

However, it should be pointed out that horticultural red light LED chips, especially high-end ones, will likely suffer a shortage in 3Q21, as suppliers’ production capacities for these chips are constrained by other products, including automotive and infrared LED products. At the same time, demand for horticultural LED lighting products cannot be fully met due to the ongoing shortage of PMICs. Furthermore, delayed ocean freight schedules and North American governments’ crackdown on illegal indoor marijuana cultivations have also impacted the shipment of these end-products, thereby leading certain horticultural LED lighting suppliers to slow down their production plans and component procurement activities. Even so, LED suppliers are still optimistic towards the current market. Although changes in the global environment are expected to hinder market demand in the short run, LED suppliers believe that such hindrance will likely be ameliorated by the end of 3Q21.

TrendForce’s investigations indicate that horticultural lighting LED package suppliers include ams-OSRAM, Samsung LED, CREE LED, Seoul Semiconductor, Lumileds, Everlight, LITEON, and lightning. On the other hand, horticultural LED chip suppliers include Epistar, San’an, HC Semitek, HPO, and Epileds. The vast majority of the aforementioned companies were able to benefit from the horticultural lighting market and posted remarkable earnings performances in 1H21.

Looking ahead, the demand on food safety will bring about a shortened food supply chain via such developments as indoor farming and build-outs of vertical farms, with a corresponding rise in the global horticultural lighting LED market. In addition, TrendForce believes that, as operators of greenhouses or emerging vertical farms continue to adopt LED lighting equipment in the long run, and LED lighting costs continue to decline, more and more indoor farmers will be convinced to replace their traditional lighting equipment with LED lighting equipment. The replacement demand from these operators will, in turn, become the key driver of the horticultural lighting LED market’s future growth.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

(Cover image source: Pixabay)

2021-08-04

Annual Revenue of Micro LED Chips for TVs Expected to Reach US3.4 Billion in 2025 in Spite of Ongoing Challenges with Cost and Technology, Says TrendForce

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Annual revenue of Micro LED chips for TV is expected to reach US$3.4 billion in 2025 at a 250% CAGR across the 2021-2025 period, according to TrendForce’s latest report titled 2021 Mini / Micro LED Self-Emissive Display Trends and Analysis on Suppliers’ Strategies. This growth can mostly attributed to the early planning by display manufacturers to adopt Micro LED technology for large-sized displays; although the prohibitive cost of this technology is unlikely to be overcome in the short run, TrendForce still forecasts the aforementioned revenue in light of several factors: First, Micro LED technology enables the production of gapless, large-sized modular displays; second, displays featuring Micro LED technology are able to meet the standards of cinema-grade displays or high-end TVs; finally, Korean TV brands have been aggressively investing in Micro LED TV development.

After TV market leader Samsung released its 146-inch TV wall, aptly named “The Wall”, in 2018, the company has continued to announce large-sized modular video walls and Micro LED TVs (which come in such sizes as 75-inch, 110-inch, 219-inch, and 292-inch) at each subsequent CES. TrendForce indicates that, prior to the widespread commercialization of Micro LED TVs, TV manufacturers will continue to face challenges in terms of both technological barriers and costs. In particular, breakthroughs in three areas remain the most noteworthy: Micro LED chips, backplanes/drivers, and mass transfer.

With regards to cost, Micro LED chips comprise the highest share of Micro LED TV manufacturing costs, and their persistently high prices can be attributed to three factors. The first of these factors is the enormous number of chips used in TV manufacturing. For instance, a 4K resolution TV requires 24.88 million Micro LED chips. Second of all, due to the diminutive size of Micro LED chips, their manufacturing process involves extremely stringent requirements regarding wavelength uniformity and clean room particle count. Finally, as Micro LED chips are smaller than 75μm­, the current PL (photoluminescence) technologies are unable to fully detect defects in Micro LED chips, in turn increasing the difficulties in the mass transfer process of chips to backplanes.

With regards to backplane and driver technology, PCB backplanes paired with passive matrix (PM) are a relatively mature solution that has become the predominant choice for P > 0.625mm pixel pitch displays. However, for Micro LED TVs, which are relatively smaller in size but maintain the same resolution, once their pixel pitch shrinks below 0.625mm, challenges begin to arise with PCB backplane development, such as line width and line space, both of which can pose limits on mass production and increase manufacturing costs. Conversely, TFT glass backplanes paired with LTPS arrays are able to accurately control and drive the electrical circuits in Micro LED displays. This type of active matrix (AM)-equipped backplanes is therefore expected to become the mainstream technology of Micro LED TVs going forward.

Another technological challenge in backplane development is glass metallization. As displays approach increasingly high resolutions, they require correspondingly smaller gaps between modules. Now that traditional COF (chip on film) designs are no longer viable, manufacturers are instead routing the wirings on the surface of the TFT glass either from the side or through TGV (through glass via) processes. In order to achieve this routing, manufacturers need to make use of glass metallization technology. However, as many technological bottlenecks still remain with regards to glass metallization, such as low yield rate and high cost, manufacturers must work to overcome these barriers as the industry moves forward.

In terms of manufacturing process, the main hurdles in Micro LED development are twofold: mass transfer and testing/repairing. The 24.88 million Micro LED chips used in each Micro LED TV pose an enormous demand in terms of mass transfer yield rate, manufacturing time, and testing/repairing processes. At the moment, the industry’s predominant mass transfer technologies consist of pick and place, laser transfer, fluidic assembly, magnetic mass transfer, roll-based transfer, and wafer bonding.

The adoption of each respective mass transfer technology depends on the resolution of the display products as well as the size of Micro LED chips to be transferred, and each of these technologies comes with its own impact on production capacity, yield rate, and manufacturing equipment costs. That is why Micro LED production lines involve such a high degree of complexity. TrendForce believes that the mass transfer process in Micro LED TV manufacturing needs to reach a rate of at least 20 million UPH (units per hour) and a 99.999% yield for Micro LED TVs to be viable for wide commercial release.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-06-30

Global LED Video Wall Revenue for 2021 Projected to Increase by 13.5% YoY to US$6.27 Billion as Market Recovers, Says TrendForce

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Affected by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, global LED video wall revenue for 2020 reached a mere US$5.53 billion, a 12.8% YoY decrease, with the European and US markets suffering the most significant declines, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In 2021, as overall market demand recovers, and certain components in the upstream supply chain undergo price hikes due to shortage, LED video wall manufacturers have raised their product prices in response. Hence, LED video wall revenue for this year is expected to reach US$6.27 billion, a 13.5% YoY increase.

TrendForce further indicates that the overall demand for LED video walls has been gradually recovering thanks to increased vaccinations worldwide, which have enabled a gradual easing of border restrictions as well as the resumption of major commercial and sporting activities, including UEFA Euro 2020 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In addition, owing to the rising prices of materials in the upstream LED video wall supply chain, such as driver IC, PCB, and LED components, LED video wall manufacturers such as Leyard, Unilumin, and Absen are gradually raising their product prices in order to maintain product profit.

While demand in the Chinese market was the first to recover, the top eight suppliers collectively accounted for a 60% market share

Regarding the ranking of LED video wall suppliers in 2020, Leyard took the leadership position with an 11.3% market share even though its overall revenue declined due to the pandemic’s impact on Leyard’s overseas businesses. Likewise, Unilumin saw declines in its overseas businesses, which caused only a slight drop in its revenue because Unilumin had placed a greater focus on sales in the Chinese market. Unilumin took second place with a market share of 10.8%. Qiangli Jucai, on the other hand, primarily conducted businesses in domestic China. By aggressively strengthening its distribution channels, Qiangli Jucai was able to increase its revenue against the overall downtrend and take third place. Daktronics, Hikvision, Samsung Electronics, Absen, and Shanxi High-tech Huaye rounded out of the rest of the ranking by taking the fourth to eighth places in order.

On the whole, most LED video wall manufacturers, especially companies (including Leyard, Unilumin, and Absen) whose primary markets were Europe and the US, saw declines in their revenues for 2020 due to the pandemic last year. Conversely, companies with a primary focus on the Chinese market, such as Qiangli Jucai and Shanxi High-tech Huaye, benefitted from the recovering demand that began ramping up in 3Q20 and peaked in 4Q20. These companies were able to propel the combined market share of the top eight LED video wall manufacturers last year to 58%, which was four percentage points higher compared to 54% in 2019.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-04-28

Global LED Video Wall Driver IC Revenue for 2021 Projected to Reach US$360 Million, a 13% Increase YoY, Says TrendForce

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The LED video wall driver IC market has been suffering from insufficient production capacities on the supply side since 2020, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In order to ensure a sufficient level of wafer capacities at foundries, LED video wall driver IC suppliers therefore began raising prices for certain driver IC products by about 5-10% at the end of last year, and this price hike is expected to persist through 2021 as well.

On the demand side, various commercial activities and sporting events have been successively resuming as the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually brought under control. The resumption of these activities is expected to drive global LED video wall driver IC revenue for 2021 to US$360 million, a 13% growth YoY.

Chipone takes leadership position among suppliers in the highly oligopolistic LED video wall driver IC market

TrendForce indicates that that the LED video wall driver IC market is highly oligopolistic, as the top five suppliers collectively possessed more than 90% market share by revenue last year. With regards to the performances of the individual suppliers, Chipone took leadership position with a 36% share in the LED video wall driver IC market and dwarfed the other suppliers in terms of both revenue and shipment. On the other hand, Taiwan-based Macroblock, which primarily focuses on the high-end segment and holds relatively advanced technologies in its portfolio, took second place with a 20% market share.

Sunmoon took third place last year with a 13% market share. The company went public in December in an effort to raise more capital and strengthen its market position. Sunmoon has since become listed on China’s SSE STAR Market as a public company. Rounding out the top five list are Fine Made and Shixin Technology, which took fourth and fifth place, respectively. These two companies, along with others such as Developer Microelectronics, Sumacro, MY-Semi, and Xm-Plus, together constituted a 31% market share.

Tight 8-inch wafer capacities have led to noticeable price hikes for entry-level LED video wall driver ICs

Although the foundry industry expanded its 8-inch wafer capacities in 2021, driver IC demand for applications such as 5G smartphones, 5G base stations, automotive power devices, PMICs, and large-sized panel driver ICs remains strong. Incidentally, wafer capacities for driver ICs used in these aforementioned applications overlap with wafer capacities for LED video wall driver ICs to an extensive degree. At the same time, as small pixel pitch and ultra-fine pitch displays (LED video walls) become the market mainstream, LED video wall driver IC demand will likely undergo a corresponding growth as well.

However, in 2021, production capacities for LED video wall driver ICs will continue to be constrained by the demand for other products due to their low profitability. As a result, TrendForce expects prices of high-end LED video wall driver ICs to once again undergo a 5-10% increase in 2Q21, while entry-level ones will undergo a price hike of about 20-30% for the same period.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

2021-03-25

Global Automotive LED Revenue Projected to Reach Nearly US$3 Billion in 2021 Owing to High Demand for Headlights and Display Panels, Says TrendForce

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The COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the global auto market and in turn damaged the automotive LED industry in 1H20, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. In 2H20, however, the gradual recovery of vehicle sales as well as the development of NEVs provided some upward momentum for the automotive LED industry, whose revenue for the year reached US$2.572 billion, a 3.7% decline YoY. Automotive LED revenue for 2021 is projected to reach $2.926 billion, a 13.7% growth YoY, thanks to the increasing demand for automotive headlights and display panels. As automakers continue to incorporate LED lighting solutions into new car models, the penetration rate of automotive LED will continue to undergo a corresponding increase as well.

TrendForce analyst Joanne Wu indicates that, in the automotive LED player revenue ranking of 2020, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Nichia, and Lumileds remained the top three largest automotive LED suppliers, respectively, with a combined market share of 71.9%. In particular, European and American automakers favored OSRAM’s solutions for their high-end vehicle models and NEVs due to the high quality of OSRAM products. Adoption by these automakers subsequently became the main revenue driver of OSRAM’s automotive LED business.

On the other hand, the pandemic caused Japanese automakers to suspend their operations and therefore had a direct impact on the revenues and market shares of Japanese LED suppliers, such as Nichia and Stanley, in 2020. Nichia and Stanley saw their revenues decline by 9.8% YoY and 7% YoY, respectively, and were the two suppliers among the top 10 last year to have shown relatively noticeable declines. Seoul Semiconductor’s nPola and Wicop LED products were adopted by Chinese automakers, including CCAG, SAIC-GM, and NIO, due to these products’ high brightness and compact sizes. Seoul Semiconductor’s market share reached 5.1% in 2020. Finally, not only did other suppliers, including Samsung LED and CREE, deliver consistent performances in the automotive aftermarket (AM) and performance market (PM) segments, but they also gradually began entering the automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) lighting market. Samsung LED and CREE each took seventh and ninth place on the 2020 ranking with a 2.8% and 1.1% market share, respectively.

On the whole, TrendForce finds that automotive demand has been recovering since 4Q20. Accordingly, LED suppliers indicate that their booking orders appear bullish throughout 2021, meaning most LED suppliers now need to extend their product lead times in response. At the same time, LED players indicated that double booking might happen in the near future. Thereby, they will make decisions in light of the actual booking order quantity to see the possibility of increasing prices.

(Cover image source: OSARM)

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Optoelectronics Research, please click here, or email Ms. Grace Li from the Sales Department at graceli@trendforce.com

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