As more smartphone manufacturers build designs using flexible display technology, shipments of the displays are expected to reach 139 million units in 2017, an increase of 135% compared to last year, said research and analysis firm IHS in a report.
According to IHS Markit, flexible displays are expected to comprise 3.8% of total display unit shipments in 2017.
Vivo and Xiaomi launched their first smartphones with flexible active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays in 2016. Many other manufacturers have plans to develop their own foldable (or bendable, dual-edge curved) smartphone designs.
Apple is expected to launch its new iPhone using flexible AMOLED display in 2017, which would dramatically drive up expected demand for flexible panels. These are expected to comprise 20% of total OLED display unit shipments in 2017.
“During 2016, many smartphone manufacturers pressured display panel makers to supply them more flexible AMOLEDs for their new smartphone designs,” said Jerry Kang, principal analyst of display research for IHS Markit. However, the demand wasn’t met due to limited production capacity.