Corning’s Five Reasons for Optimism in the Display Industry

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from Andrew Beck, director, worldwide commercial operations, Corning Display

A Look into why Corning Believes in the Future of the Display Industry

A teacher advises a student. A doctor meets with a patient. A group of friends plays trivia. Increasingly, so many of these interactions are happening through a screen.

In fact, we believe many of these connections will remain virtual as we live through the long-term impact of COVID-19. While nothing is certain in a pandemic, for Corning Display, navigating this new normal has cemented the need for displays and our fundamental beliefs in the industry.

Essentially, we believe the future of the display industry remains bright for five reasons:  

1. Consumers are still buying displays 

Each day, we rely on displays in our homes and in our pockets to help ensure that social distancing doesn’t equal social isolation. This means consumers are buying more monitors, laptops, and larger TVs to stay entertained, informed, and connected. In fact, as many locations in the U.S. went under lockdown in April 2020, TV unit sales increased more than forty percent from the same time last year. Much of this spending comes as retail prices declined and consumers found more affordable ways to equip their living rooms, home offices, and classrooms with the latest display technology.

And consumers are not just buying any televisions. They are increasingly buying large 65” and 75” displays. In fact, we expect screen sizes will continue to increase by 1.5” each year. 

2. Panel maker technologies and processes are more advanced than ever

As consumers expectations for televisions increase panel makers are designing brighter, higher resolution, and larger displays through improvements in technologies and processes.

For example, panel makers are economically achieving 8K resolution with backplanes that seemed impossible only a few years ago, such as oxide TFTs. And to improve the color and light output of LCD TVs, panel makers are using increasingly advanced quantum dot films to augment traditional LCD designs, as seen in QLED sets.

Both TV technology advancements are widely available today and provide consumers with high-performance TVs at accessible price points.

3. Global supply chain is structured to support industry shifts and global challenges 

In the past few years, the global center of LCD panel manufacturing has shifted from Korea to China. The shift was somewhat expedited because of COVID-19, but this dynamic did not happen overnight.

Korean panel manufacturers adjusted to industry and macroeconomic dynamics by sourcing LCD panels from other locations and turning their resources toward next-generation display technologies. 

Chinese panel makers have seen explosive growth over the last several years as China has emerged as the largest TV market in the world.

Ultimately, what drives end-market demand drives glass demand – which is what we at Corning are focused on. As we continue to expand glass capacity, including supply agreements for three out of four announced Gen 10.5 plants, Corning is well positioned to support our customers’ market growth.  

4. More bandwidth means more displays everywhere 

Remaining connected to the Internet is a must in today’s work- and learn-from-home environment. With more displays everywhere, consumers need a robust wireless network to instantaneously power everything from text messages and video calls, to streaming services and online gaming.

All these connected devices, whether in our home, cars, or even large-size, public information displays, require a tremendous amount of data. This further drives the need for faster, more enhanced mobile broadband and 5G networks.

Today, Corning is ready to answer the call with not only display glass and optical fiber, but also cover glass, which we all use to interact with our mobile devices.

5. R&D is funded and encouraged

Even with the display market maturing and experiencing some temporary challenges related to COVID-19, many companies, including Corning, continue to invest in development efforts that will shape the future of the display industry.

Recent announcements highlight a variety of “disruptive” display innovations like MicroLED for higher contrast ratios and QD-OLED for super-charged, realistic color. Like LCD and OLED, these disruptive innovations also require multiple pieces of precisely engineered glass.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re able to connect with the world and each other in ways we never before thought possible. Glass will continue to be the material that enables those connections and drives emerging trends in the display industry.