The market for active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays continues to grow, with its share of global display shipments reaching 11% in 2016 and then rising to a projected 22% in 2020. AMOLED displays are used in devices including smartphones, televisions and wearables.
Supporting this rapid growth will be the AMOLED encapsulation material market, up a mighty 76% percent to $111 million this year from 2015, according to the IHS Markit AMOLED Encapsulation Material Market Report for 2016.
Total AMOLED encapsulation surface area is likewise set for solid expansion, hitting 4 million square meters this year, up 62% from 2015. Double-digit expansion will continue, to 13 million square meters in 2020.
Encapsulation is a very new market—and one specifically fitted for OLED. And as the OLED industry continues to expand, more and more chemical materials companies will be working on encapsulation materials.
AMOLED encapsulation is a key technology in determining the life span and reliability of AMOLED displays. Because AMOLED organic materials are highly vulnerable to moisture and oxygen, the AMOLED encapsulation process is essential in order to protect devices from mechanical and physical shocks.
The primary technologies used in the AMOLED encapsulation process include the following:
- Glass encapsulation - used primarily in smartphones and other small displays that require a slim form factor.
- Metal encapsulation - used for smartphone AMOLED displays in the early stages of AMOLED development, but is now widely deployed in AMOLED TV displays as well.
- Thin-film encapsulation - has become more popular recently in wearables and other devices that use flexible displays.
Glass encapsulation is expected to make up 56%—or more than half—of the total encapsulation market, worth $62 million this year. However, given the rising demand for AMOLED TVs that require a much larger display surface area, metal encapsulation is forecast to overtake glass encapsulation by next year, accounting for 53% of the market.
David Hsieh is Director of Analysis & Research within the IHS Markit Technology group