display panel


2022-01-04

Market Penetration of Mobile Phone AMOLED Panels Forecast at 46% in 2022, AMOLED DDI Supply Still Tight, Says TrendForce


Benefiting from expanded introduction of AMOLED mobile phone models by Apple, Samsung and Chinese brands, the market penetration rate of AMOLED panels for mobile phones in 2021 was 42%, according to TrendForce‘s investigations. In 2022, continuous investment undertaken by numerous panel factories to expand AMOLED production lines will drive AMOLED panel penetration rate to an estimated 46%. However, TrendForce further asserts that the continued tight supply of AMOLED DDI and the willingness of mobile phone brands to expand the use of AMOLED panels will be the keys influencing AMOLED market penetration rate next year.

Continued tightness in AMOLED DDI supply for mobile phones

The AMOLED DDI process requires dedicated medium voltage 8V processes at the 40nm and 28nm nodes. However, the supply of dedicated process capacity in 2021 is limited. In addition, Samsung’s Austin, Texas fab was shut down due to a snowstorm in early 2021, resulting in serious shortages of AMOLED DDI. New capacity in 2022 includes UMC at the 28nm node and SMIC at the 40nm node. However, since capacity and expanded capacity still cannot effectively meet the various brand’s demand for AMOLED DDI, Samsung’s fab will continue to reduce OLED DDIC production scale in the future. Stocking issues are expected to plague AMOLED DDI continuing into 2022.

TrendForce states, UMC’s primary expansion plan for 28nm AMOLED DDI will be completed by the end of 2023, so AMOLED DDI supply tightness is expected to be alleviated in 2023. In addition, other foundries have plans to develop dedicated AMOLED DDI processes but, due to a belated development schedule, these plans will not be able to address the AMOLED DDI shortage in 2022. Facing limitations on dedicated AMOLED DDI production capacity, traditional front-line DDI design houses are actively booking the majority of production capacity, while other DDI design houses are also competing for limited production capacity in order to enter the AMOLED panel factory supply chain.

Mobile phone brands expand their willingness to adopt AMOLED panels

Facing the gradual maturity of AMOLED panel technology and the continuous improvement of production yields, AMOLED market penetration rate will increase from 42% in 2021 to 46% in 2022. This will reduce the market share of LTPS panels in the mid-tier market and drive panel makers to transfer LTPS production capacity to medium size applications. However, mobile phone brands face the risk of AMOLED DDI continuing to being out of stock in 2022. In addition to the high price of AMOLED panels and the steady increase in the pricing of other semiconductor components, in order for mobile phone brands to maintain profitability and achieve annual shipment goals, TrendForce expects that a small number of AMOLED products may switch over to LCD panels to pad shipments in the mid-to-low-end mobile phone market, allowing LTPS panel makers to gain a bit of breathing room in the mid-end market.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-09-30

Unchanged Prices or Slight Price Hike Expected for Driver ICs in 4Q21 Amidst Falling Panel Prices and Rising Foundry Service Prices, Says TrendForce

Display panels contain certain semiconductor parts, including driver ICs, TCONs, and LCD PMICs; the price trends of these ICs used in different applications depend on their respective supply and demand situations. Not only has demand for driver ICs used for TVs, Chromebooks, and consumer IT displays declined ahead of other applications, but panel suppliers have also accumulated a considerable inventory of driver ICs for these aforementioned products, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. Hence, these driver ICs may see their prices stagnate in 4Q21. Nevertheless, although driver IC suppliers will not be able to offload the foundry costs for driver IC manufacturing to panel suppliers entirely, panel suppliers are still expected to procure additional driver ICs in order to avoid possible shortages, since demand for commercial IT displays and driver ICs used in these displays still exists. TrendForce therefore expects driver IC prices to experience a minor price hike in 4Q21.

It should be pointed out that certain TCONs and LCD PMICs are experiencing either shortages or excessive lead times. Furthermore, TSMC will raise the prices of their mature foundry process technologies in 4Q21 by a relatively high margin. Taking these factors into account, TrendForce expects TCON and PMIC prices to remain in an uptrend for the quarter. With regards to smartphone TDDI, the decline in client orders for 4Q21 means that smartphone TDDI will not continue to undergo a price hike in 4Q21. Conversely, smartphone OLED DDIC prices are likely to remain bullish in 4Q21 for the following reasons: First, foundries’ production capacities for smartphone OLED DDIC are currently insufficient. Second, this product category involves a high level of technological barrier to entry in terms of IC design, meaning there are very few IC design companies capable of offering a stable supply of OLED DDIC; smartphone manufacturers are therefore scrambling to book OLED DDIC orders for next year’s handsets.

On the other hand, IC design companies have traditionally sold driver ICs, TCONs, and PMICs as a bundle to panel suppliers during shortages because bundling these components not only increases their sales volumes, but also ensures that panel suppliers receive these components in matching inventory levels. Despite rumors pointing to a possible price hike of driver ICs, TrendForce believes that, given the ongoing shortage of TCONs and PMICs, products sold as a bundle are likely to undergo successful price hikes.

After experiencing component shortages for more than a year, panel suppliers are projected to more carefully address issues of IC procurement and inventory management. On the whole, driver IC prices for 4Q21 will likely remain relatively unchanged from the previous quarter. Looking ahead to 2022, TrendForce expects the demand for display panels to trend downwards during the cyclical downturn of 1H22. This bear market, along with the fact that display manufacturers still need to use up their existing inventory of display panels, means that panel suppliers will almost certainly revise down their driver IC procurement. At the same time, as certain foundries gradually ramp up their driver IC production, the gap between supply and demand of driver ICs will in turn diminish. In other words, potential risks of driver IC shortage will also become slowly mitigated. For driver IC suppliers, their primary challenge for 2022 will be the ability to dynamically adjust their operations between peak demand and low demand periods. Consequently, IC suppliers that possess more robust operations and more diverse product portfolios will also hold the competitive advantage.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Display Research, please click here, or email Ms. Vivie Liu from the Sales Department at vivieliu@trendforce.com

2021-06-23

Panel Costs Account for More Than 60% of 21.5-inch Monitor Retail Prices, with LCD Monitor Panel Prices Likely to Keep Rising

Given the expected price hike of LCD display panels in 2021 and the high demand for electronic products that has persisted since last year due to the stay-at-home economy, various IT product suppliers are under tremendous stress from not only the enormous number of client orders, but also surging quotes from panel manufacturers. And LCD monitor manufacturers are no exception.

According to TrendForce’s investigations into monitor pricing, the cost of the LCD panel typically accounts for about 40-50% of a monitor’s retail prices. Conversely, in the high-end segment, panel costs account for about 30-40% of monitor retail prices due to other factors, such as the inclusion of industrial design and premium components.

Regarding the sales of mainstream products, monitor brands face three different sources of pricing pressure. Put in layman’s terms, these sources are equivalent to taking an SAT, hunting for jobs post-college, and (for middle-aged people) transitioning one’s career after being fired.

Despite ample room for panel prices to change, raising retail prices of monitors remains difficult, and such prices hikes lag far behind the increase of panel costs

More specifically, 27-inch IPS FHD products can be analogized to the SAT, as monitor brands are relatively well-equipped to deal with increases in panel costs for this product category. For the most part, panel costs account for less than 50% of these products’ retail prices in 2021. In other words, since 27-inch IPS FHD monitors are still relatively profitable for monitor brands, brands will attempt to increase the share of these products in their shipment of all product categories.

With regards to 23.8-inch IPS products, monitor brands face pressure that is about equivalent to the job search process that takes place after graduating from college. Panel costs have been accounting for more than 40% of monitor retail prices since February. In view of rising panel costs, this percentage is expected to reach 50-55% in 3Q21, which is approximately the breakeven point for monitor brands.

However, because brands will attempt to maintain a certain level of shipment, 23.8-inch IPS monitors will continue to remain the market mainstream.

On the other hand, brands do not prioritize the sales of 21.5-inch TN products as much as they do the other products. Panel prices for this product category have been rising since 2Q20, and this price hike has been intensifying since 2H20.

Entering October 2020, panel costs began accounting for a considerable part of retail prices, in turn surpassing 50% in January 2021 and 60% in June 2021. Since panel manufacturers are disinclined to continue supplying 21.5-inch TN panels, the gap between supply and demand will persist, resulting in either an upward trajectory or bullish outlook for panel prices. In other words, the relative high costs of these panels will not only remain unresolved, but also likely worsen going forward.

TrendForce therefore believes that monitor brands may need to package their 21.5-inch TN monitors within bundle sales in order to offset the rising costs of panels. Alternatively, brands may also raise the retail prices of these products by about US$20-30 in order ensure that panel costs account for only about 50% of the monitors’ retail prices.

On the whole, the magnitude of financial losses incurred by monitor brands through price hikes, panel shortages, or the continued sale of 21.5-inch TN monitors will become the key determinant to how monitor brands adjust the volume of other mid-sized and large-sized products within their total monitor shipments.

(Cover image source: Unsplash)

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