European OLED market exceeded $120 million in 2006

Europe is a major player in the OLED market despite the strength of Asian display makers, says Frost & Sullivan.

The market in Europe for OLEDs earned revenues of $124.2 million in 2006 and will grow to an estimated $701.5 million in 2013, according to research from Frost & Sullivan.

The European Organic Light Emitting Diodes Market says that while Asia Pacific is a dominant region for display applications, the excellence in research and technological development in the European region has enabled it, nevertheless, to maintain a foothold in the global market.

OLEDs are likely to be one of the key technologies of the future, particularly in the context of display and lighting applications. Currently, the applications driving the adoption of this technology include portable consumer device displays, such as mobile phones and personal media players.

“The advantages offered by OLED, when compared to competing technologies such as LCD, are playing an essential role in propelling the market forward,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Rengarajan Srinivasan. “OLEDs are emissive systems and do not require a backlight, which makes them slimmer and thinner.”

They also consume less power and this ability of low power consumption is driving the use of OLEDs in portable display applications, where power efficiency is critical. Meanwhile, the environment-friendly OLED has also influenced the European Union to invest in industry-led research activities concentrating on commercialising OLED lighting applications. These efforts have made the European region a leader in lighting research.

However, hurdles exist in the development of OLED lights, which include increasing the luminance efficiency and the material lifetime. In addition, due to competition between OLEDs, inorganic LEDs and fluorescent lights, cost has emerged as a key factor influencing adoption rates. Overcoming these challenges is likely to accelerate mainstream commercial lighting applications beyond 2010.

Moreover, the involvement of many value chain participants in the market is complicating product development and increasing the time to market. Besides, the prohibitive costs and the uncertainty related to demand are creating confusion in the entire supply chain.

“The success of the OLED technology is based on the effective collaboration of all supply chain participants,” explains Mr. Srinivasan. “Mass adoption of the technology is likely to create huge demand for organic materials and the ability to provide will depend on the success of the supply chain, which is highly demand oriented.” In the future, the ability of OLEDs to serve niche applications is likely to create to stable demand and enable a smooth value chain.

Supported by a steady decline in price, LCDs are emerging as the leading flat panel display solution and the high cost of OLED is limiting its ability to compete with LCD displays. In the future, the development of cost-effective manufacturing methods is expected to reduce the cost of OLEDs and result in a shorter period for return on investments.

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