Sales of microLED, a potential alternative to OLED, are expected to rise from negligible levels in 2020 to mass-market territory by 2026, according to a report by IHS Markit.
Is microLED the future of displays?
MicroLED displays are difficult and expensive to manufacture but "steep declines in manufacturing costs make the emerging technology suitable for the mass market". That is according to IHS Markit's Micro LED Display Technology & Market report.
Like OLED, microLED is a self-emissive display technology. As each pixel generates its own light, brightness and color can be controlled on the pixel-level. Companies involved believe that microLED can reach much higher brightness levels than OLED while still keeping power consumption in check.
The analyst firm predicts that microLED will become an attractive alternative to OLED and LCD in segments such as TVs, smartphones, smartwatches, and AR systems.
- "Despite their extremely high price tag compared to conventional LCD and OLED panels, microLED displays offer advantages in brightness and energy efficiency that make them an attractive alternative for ultra-small and ultra-large applications," said Jerry Kang, associate director at IHS Markit. "The manufacturing process for microLED will allow suppliers to reduce their production costs over time. Once the process matures, microLED sales will begin to rise."
Manufacturing is expected to reach maturity in 2024 and shipments of microLED displays are forecasted to reach 16 million annually in 2026. That is still a small share of the global market but it will represent mass-market territory, the analyst firm argued.
- "Despite the growth in acceptance, microLED shipments in 2026 will still amount to just 0.4 percent of the global flat-panel display market," Kang said. "However, with shipments of nearly 16 million units that year, microLED will have entered mass-market territory, setting the stage for much wider acceptance during the following years."
Apple, LG, Samsung, Sony, and others are developing microLED displays. Samsung is launching 73 to 292-inch microLED TVs, dubbed 'The Wall Luxury', this month. The TVs are expected to carry a high 6-figure price tag in US dollars.