Pandemic Boosted Organic LED (OLED) Tablet Penetration

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  • Samsung, making OLEDs since 2014, leads the way
  • Emerging tech and declining manufacturing costs making OLED popular
  • Apple expected to bring OLED iPads soon; others expected to follow suit

As per Counterpoint’s global tablet market tracker, the COVID-19 pandemic has marked a major shift in tablet displays, with OLEDs (Organic Light-emitting Diode) coming under focus. It noted that with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of multimedia has increased globally and tablet displays have progressively gained prominence. Though still predominantly consisting of LCD panels, the market has begun to show signs of the increased adoption of OLED in the tablet industry. Unlike the mass adoption of OLED panels that have happened in other devices, the use of OLED in tablets has only been pursued by a handful of OEMs so far.

Notably, Samsung is the oldest player in the domain as it started making OLED tablets as early as 2014, while most of its competitors didn’t show sufficient interest. Interestingly, many OEMs have started using OLED display panels in their newest high-end devices. The report suggests that the upcoming technologies and down-spiralling costs of manufacturing are expected to further popularise OLEDs.

Counterpoint explained that the biggest technological difference between OLED and LCD displays relates to how the pixels are illuminated. LCDs rely on an LED backlight for illumination while OLEDs provide individual pixel illumination to offer better colour contrasts and viewing angles. These advantages, however, do not come without their costs. The reliability of OLEDs has also been under doubt, as burn-in and pixel wear is more prevalent compared to LCDs. Counterpoint expects these issues to resolve in the near future to give further impetus to OLEDs.

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Global Tablet OLED Market Share by Brand (Credit: Counterpoint)

The report suggested that despite the increasing OLED tablet launches from leading OEMs, major developments in OLED penetration will likely remain dormant in 2023 due to the possibility of OLED displays remaining costly. It also expects Apple to introduce OLED iPads and take a considerable market share of 21% in Q2 2024. Possibly, other OEMs will also launch similar products, hence speeding up the shift to OLED displays as the new tablet standard.

Given the gradual diversification of model lineups, Samsung dropped by 11% points YoY in Q3 2022, while Lenovo and Huawei gained 8% and 3% points respectively. The report pointed out that OEMs like Lenovo are expected to further increase their OLED tablet market share with newer models slated to release in mid-2023.


 

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