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E-Paper Revenues Forecast to Reach $9.6B in Under 10 Years

Wed, 08/26/2009 - 5:42am

Editor's Note: I wonder how the market share will break out for e-reading between dedicated e-paper devices, smart phones, and net tablets?

AUSTIN, TEXAS — In its recently released , DisplaySearch forecasts that the total e-paper display market will grow to 1.8 billion units and $9.6 billion in revenues in 2018, from 22 million units and $431 million in revenues in 2009, for a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 41%for revenues and 64% for units.

The market for e-paper displays—which are found in e-books, e-textbooks, e-newspapers, e-magazines, mobile phones, electronic shelf labels, point–of-purchase and public signage displays, displays in smart and credit cards, clothes and other wearable items, and other applications—has taken off this past year, becoming one of the few shining stars in the economic downturn.

“E-paper displays are taking off with consumers due to their low power consumption and ease of reading, especially in sunlight,” noted Jennifer Colegrove, Director of Display Technologies at DisplaySearch.“In addition, e-paper displays are ‘green’ because they reduce paper consumption, and electronic shelf labels can save time and labor costs by enabling dynamic pricing in stores.”

E-Paper Displays Report 2009

E-book displays currently account for the majority of e-paper revenues. Nearly all e-book devices currently in the market use E Ink’s electrophoretic display technology, with a small number—such as Fujitsu’s FLEPia—using cholesteric LCD (liquid crystal display) technology. Other electrophoretic display suppliers SiPix and Bridgestone have announced that they will also commercialize e-book displays.

Additional findings from the DisplaySearch E-Paper Displays Report:

  • The number of e-book/e-text books (5-9.x”) models went from one model in 2003-2004 to three in 2006, to about five in 2007. In 2009, the number of models jumped to about 20. The e-paper display market for e-books and e-textbooks (5-10”) is forecast to grow from about 1 million units in 2008 to 77 million units in 2018.
  • Color e-book displays recently entered the market with Fujitsu’s 8” FLEPia e-book. Due to the high price and technical challenges, DisplaySearch forecasts color e-books will not reach high volumes before 2011.
  • Electrophoretic was the leading technology in 2008, and DisplaySearch forecasts that the technology will continue to lead the e-paper display market growth for this forecast period, and reach $5.8 billion by 2018.
  • Bi-stable LCD was the second largest e-paper display technology by revenues in 2008; DisplaySearch forecasts this segment will reach $2.5 billion by 2018.
  • MEMS (micro-electro mechanical system) display technology will expand from small size mobile phone displays to color and medium size e-book displays over the next few years.
  • Electrochromic displays are targeting low-cost, high-volume smart label and card display applications. DisplaySearch forecasts that electrochromic will become the leading technology in terms of unit volume for e-paper displays by 2013.

Technology Comparison:

E Ink SiPix Bridgestone Kent Displays
& Fujitsu
Technology Electrophoretic Electrophoretic Electrophoretic Cholesteric
liquid crystal
E-Book Sony LIBRIé, prototype prototype Fujitsu’s FLEPia
example Amazon Kindle
Commercial Since 2004, End of 2009 End of 2009 Since 2009
availability 2006, 2007
White color ~50% 40% ~30% ~20-45%
reflectivity
Contrast ratio ~15:1 ~10:1 ~10:1 ~10:1
Response time 250 ms 400-200 ms <1 ms ~300 ms
Advantages Big market share; AUO is big investor, Air media, very Full color
mature supply chain area color might be easier fast response time
Items needing Color and Color and Image sticking issues Cost and
improvement  response time response time response time

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