OLEDs accelerate despite wider TV slowdown

By Alex Jensen

As many of us work out where we might stand in a post-COVID world, it looks like OLED technology will be an even bigger part of the picture. This is because market research shows a consistent trend this year: OLED TVs are rising in popularity even as analysts see a slowdown in general TV sales.

Market research firm TrendForce expects OLED TVs to break records this year. Its forecast is that OLED TV shipments will increase 80% from 2020, reaching 7.1 million units.

TrendForce’s analysis cites OLED’s “excellent image quality” as the primary factor attracting consumer attention, as well as mentioning more supply and diversification of OLED TVs. The opening up of the OLED TV market was demonstrated on Amazon Prime Day last month, with some of the best deals focusing on this high-end display technology.

According to Omdia’s May monthly market tracker for TV sets, OLED TVs now go beyond their role as premium primary TVs for households, as they are “positioned strongly for gaming and even some secondary locations, such as master bedrooms, particularly with new smaller sizes.”

Moreover, this Korean report declares 2021 to be “the year of OLED,” citing Omdia’s market research. The article states that this summer’s major sporting events such as Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics are heightening consumer interest in premium TVs – and that OLED TVs, which are known for delivering the very best picture quality, are set to account for 10% of the global TV market by the end of this year. This would mean LCD TVs representing less than 90% of the market for the first time in a decade.

While LG Display makes OLED TV displays, LG Electronics has also benefited from this OLED boom, as the Korean report mentioned above confirms that OLED TVs have made up 30% of its total TV sales for two straight quarters. It is thought in the industry, as well as in the report, that strong OLED TV sales are contributing to LG Electronics’ impressive performance this year, which affirms recent columns posted in this Newsroom here and here.

Omdia’s aforementioned monthly market tracker also reports that LCD TVs are set for negative shipment growth year-on-year between June and August, having slowed to a relative crawl in May. Given the current outlook, TrendForce anticipates that overall TV shipments will fall 6.7% in the second half of 2021 compared to last year. The firm has also revised down its TV unit shipment forecast for this year from 223 million to 221 million. Of course, this could be worse without the success of OLED TVs.

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