The research study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global flexible electronics market for 2016-2020. To calculate the market size, the report covers the sales of flexible electronic devices that include flexible displays and flexible or printed batteries worldwide.
The global flexible electronics market is well diversified across the Americas, APAC, and EMEA. As of 2015, APAC dominated the global market primarily because of the high concentration of display device manufacturers and OLED panel manufacturers in the region. The well-established supply chain for display devices in APAC will continue to support the dominance of this region in the market during the forecast period.
According to Sunil Kumar Singh, a leaf analyst at Technavio for research on embedded systems, “APAC is a hub for flat panel TV manufacturers, smartphone manufacturers, tablet manufacturers, and wearable device manufacturers. Most of these manufacturers are based in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and China. Samsung and LG are the major vendors in the market and have introduced curved panel smartphones.”
Technavio hardware and semiconductor analysts highlight the following four flexible displays and flexible or printed batteries factors that are contributing to the growth of the global flexible electronics market:
- Capacity expansion plans
- Increase in number of application segments
- Growing demand for wearables
- Incorporation of printed batteries in mobile devices
Capacity expansion plans: As the innovation continues to churn out developments in the flexible display market, major companies such as Samsung and LG have started expanding their manufacturing capacity and required investment in their APAC manufacturing plants. The time to prototype and gauge the manufacturing capacity planning has reduced to weeks and months compared to years previously. For instance, in 2015, Samsung produced 30,000 to 40,000 flexible displays each month. Also, in support of the Make In India campaign, Samsung is establishing manufacturing plants in India.
“Countries like Korea, Taiwan, China, and India are becoming sought-after destinations for investments to set up next-generation manufacturing plants. These investments help corporations speed up the overall product development and shorten the time-to-market,” says Sunil.
Increase in number of application segments: The use of flexible displays started with mobile devices and TV screens. This was a significant success and flexible displays started making inroads into other industries as well. As of 2016, there are different innovations taking place, where the use of flexible displays is being prototyped for tablets, projector screens, computer screens, sign boards, bill boards, and visual displays. As the wearable technology industry grows, the use of flexible display is becoming increasingly important and prominent. The use is not limited to just smart devices or media industries, but companies like Plastic Logic are prototyping the use of flexible displays for the paper, medical surgery, aeronautical, education, gaming, manufacturing, and many other industries.
Flexible or printed batteries
Growing demand for wearables: With the introduction of wearable technology in consumer electronics market, many vendors such as Apple, Samsung, ZTE, and Xiaomi have come up with wearable devices like smartwatches, activity trackers, and fitness bands, which help users track a number of things like distance traveled to metabolic rate of the body and heart rate. These devices are increasingly adopting printed batteries as power sources because of their flexible design and compatible features. As printed batteries are flexible in shape and size, they are being used as replacements to coin cell batteries, which are rigid and occupy a lot of space on the small devices.
Incorporation of printed batteries in mobile devices: Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are using lithium-ion batteries to supply power to the main devices. In 2015, Samsung came up with an S6 model that uses bendable screen. The manufacturers of these devices are planning to produce mobile devices that are flexible and can bend as required. Canister batteries are rigid and thus hamper the design of such devices. Printed batteries, owing to their flexible design, structure, and architecture, make a good fit. The only limitation of these printed batteries is that the power backup they provide is not sufficient for these devices. Once this limitation is overcome, the market will see a revolution in smartphones and other mobile devices. Apple and LG have already got patents for printed batteries, which means the market will soon see the advent of bendable smartphones.
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