LONDON – For the first time in four years, demand for flat panel displays grew double digits at 10.5 percent, year over year, to 221 million square meters in 2018, according to business information provider IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO).
“Although uncertainties about the global economy grew in the second half of 2018, panel purchasing for the year-end hot season was better than expected,” said Ricky Park, director of display research at IHS Markit. “Lower prices fed a sharp increase in panel demand for TVs, smartphones and desktop monitors.”
Demand for OLED TV panels increased by 65.6 percent, year over year, reaching 3 million square meters in 2018. LCD TV panel demand rose 10.7 percent to 154 million square meters during the same period. “Growing popularity of 60-inch and larger TV panels contributed to the growth in overall TV panel area demand,” Park said.
Panel demand for desktop monitors increased by 11.9 percent in 2018, led by the U.S. market. “As the gaming market has grown, a preference for larger monitors also raised demand,” Park said. Demand for 25-inch and larger monitor panels jumped 39 percent in 2018 compared to a year ago.
As the smartphone market saturated, smartphone panel demand declined to 1.6 billion units in 2018 from 1.7 billion units in 2017. However, in terms of area, demand grew 6.1 percent in 2018, as a large number of smartphones applied full-screen panels.
IHS Markit forecasts that the flat panel area demand for 2019, will grow 5.1 percent, slower than it did in 2018. The economic forecast by IHS Markit has recently been revised downward, which will partially contribute to slower growth in end-market demand.