The micro LED market was estimated at 50.30 million units in 2020 and it is expected to reach a value of USD 11611.88 million by 2026 at a CAGR of 153.1% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026). The micro LED market has witnessed an exponential demand since the acquisition of Luxvue by Apple in 2014, numerous companies have investments into the development of Mirco LEDs including startups, such as Playnitride, Mikro-Mesa, X-Celeprint, VueReal, and Lumiode. According to research, the growing number of patents in this field, which were estimated for more than 1,570 patents were filed during the 2000-2016 period is expected to augment the market growth during the forecast period.
Mirco LEDs are an emerging display technology. Importantly, micro LEDs are a significantly brighter source, offering brightness three or four orders of magnitude higher than OLEDs, which are capable of delivering around 1000 Nits (cd/m2), whereas micro LEDs offer hundreds of thousands of Nits for the equivalent power consumption.
Further, as GaN-based LEDs technology grows in maturity, the focus of many research groups has shifted toward the fabrication of higher power and higher efficiency LEDs, which stimulates the demand for micro LEDs due to their properties.
The major challenge existing today for the manufacture of micro LEDs is the mass transfer process, which is the placement of gallium nitride LEDs onto the substrate. One notable development of GaN-on-sapphire technology is using pick-and-place equipment. However, the deployment of this involves the individual placement of every LED on a pitch of less than 50μm, which requires new and expensive equipment subjecting the company to productivity and cost issues.
Currently, the demand for Higher-quality HMDs and functionality improvements to support the on-going roll-out of high quality AR/VR content are pushing the adoption of micro LEDs compared to the conventional LCOS and DLP technologies. Augmenting this trend, Oculus, the virtual reality headgear developer owned by Facebook, recently acquired an Irish micro LED company InfiniLED. According to Intel, the revenue opportunity of the AR/VR market remains strong, and is estimated to exceed USD 45 billion (USD) in headset hardware sales by the year 2021. Such trends present a strong growth potential for the market studied over the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Consumer Electronics to Account for Significant Share
- Owing to technological advancements across various consumer electronic products, such as TVs, smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, micro LEDs, are expected to witness increased incorporation among these products. Technological giants in the market have adequate experience in the LCD, LED, and OLED technologies and are now engaging their resource and expertise in the developments of micro-LED, which are supposedly the future of the consumer electronics market.
- Moreover, a South Korean giant, LG Electronics, is also planning to bring a new series of micro-LED displays to the market. The company has filed the paperwork to trademark these displays in the European Union, which will be used in smartphones, laptops, tablets and other similar electronic devices. LG is naming the displays as XµLED, SµLED, and XLµLED.
- Taiwan holds a broad range of advanced LED and display technologies that makes one of the leading micro LED developers for consumer electronics. It is building a pilot line and aims to deliver micro LED offerings to domestic VR companies.
- Moreover, prototypes from Korean firms debuted at CES 2018, namely 'The Wall' from Samsung and Micro LED displays from Lumens, proved the great effort both Korean enterprises. Owing to similar developments across other APAC countries and increasing consumption of electronic products, APAC is anticipated to witness a significant growth rate over the forecast period.
North America to Account for Largest Share
- The increasing penetration of smartphones is considered to be one of the biggest contributor toward the adoption of micro LED in the region. In recent years, the United States has witnessed a consistent growth in smartphone sales. As part of its 2016 General Social Survey Statistics in Canada, 76% of Canadians owned a smartphone in 2016. In addition to smartphones, 71% of the Canadians surveyed owned a laptop, 54% had a tablet or e-reader and 50% a desktop computer.
- The increasing penetration of smartwatches in the region is also expected to augment the adoption of the micro LED market. Companies, such as LG Electronics are planning to launch a new smartwatch alongside its signature LG V40 ThinQ smartphone in the United States, in order to leverage the growing opportunities of these devices in the region.
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office also granted patents for Apple Inc., where about 99.9% of the patent is about advanced Micro LED displays. Its newly granted patent covers their invention relating to a display technology inherited from LuxVue, a Micro LED company they acquired in 2014.
- Thus, in order to leverage the opportunity, companies, such as Rohinni (US - Based) entered into a joint venture with Magna Electronics, in order to develop flexible mini-LED and micro-LED based lighting devices for the automotive market.
- Though presently, there are few players, as the technology is considered to be disruptive for the future of display technologies, there is a surge in development and research in the production of micro LEDs.
- This has bolstered the number of patents, as well as acquisitions of microLED developers/foundries by market players. Thus, the competitive rivalry is moderate and is expected to grow over the forecast period.
- Some of the key players in the market are Innolux Corporation, Sony Corp, LG Display. Some of the key developments in Micro LED Market are as follows:
- Sony Corporation had showcased its latest development in microLED display technology. The company had showcased its huge 8K micro-LED display at the NAB 2018 show in Las Vegas.
- LG Display unveiled its first Micro LED TV prototype at IFA 2018. The company announced that its first Micro LED TV will indeed be larger than Samsung's 146-inch modular Wall. Besides being the 173 inches in diagonal, it is based on the novel microLED display technology and built from modules.
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