IHS predicts bright future for microLED
The global market for microLED displays is expected to grow to 15.5 million units in 2026 thanks to steep declines in manufacturing costs says IHS Markit.
The data and information services company’s report, titled IHS Markit Micro LED Display Technology & Market report, says microLED shipments in 2019 and 2020 are expected to total less than 1,000. However a prediction that manufacturing costs will plunge in the next few years suggests that microLED pricing will drop as well with television and AR systems set to benefit.
Jerry Kang, associate director at IHS Markit, said: “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.
“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 the maturity threshold in 2024 and the manufacturing cost of a 75-in display for televisions is expected to drop to one-fifth of its current expense by 2026.
The technology is interesting because, like OLEDs, microLEDs are an emissive display technology, meaning they generate their own light and therefore do not require a backlight. This offers greater power efficiency compared to LCDs. MicroLCDs are also much brighter than OLEDs.
MicroLED displays are composed of arrays of microscopic LEDs, each of which represents an individual pixel. Manufacturing these displays involves picking up massive numbers of LED chips from epitaxial wafers and placing them on target substrates, a process known as mass transfer.
“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.”