The growing popularity of smartwatches, fitness monitors and other wearable applications is driving up shipments of the displays used in these devices, from 34 million units in 2015 to 39 million in 2016. Nearly six out of 10 displays used in wearable devices in 2015 were active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) panels used in smartwatches, according to IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of critical information and insight.
“Smartwatch manufacturers are increasingly turning to AMOLED displays because they are thinner, lighter, have high color-performance and consume less power than other types of displays,” said Jerry Kang, principal analyst for IHS Technology. “This trend will continue in 2016, since flexible AMOLED display free-form design process enables narrower form factors and even folding bezels.”
Apple, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, and Microsoft have all adopted flexible AMOLED displays for their smartwatches. Supported by this widespread adoption by leading manufacturers, unit shipments of flexible AMOLED displays for smartwatches are expected to increase from 23 million units in 2016 to 80 million in 2024.
Smartwatches are expected to continue to lead the wearable display market in the coming years. Unit shipments are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22 percent from 2015 and reach 118 million units in 2024, according to the IHS Wearable Display Market & Technology Report. Even with this growth, total unit shipments of smartwatch displays will only equal 5 percent of smartphone display shipments in 2024.