Global Production Volume of Polarizers in 2021 Forecasted to Increase by 8.3% to 620 Million m2
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the global polarizer market of polarizers and their component films, and found out trends by product type and future perspectives.
The global production volume of polarizers is estimated to have increased by 4.7% on a YoY basis to 573.9 million square meters in 2020. By type of LCD, those polarizers for thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display i.e. TFT LCD, which include those polarizers for AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and for PM-VA (Passive Matrix Vertical Alignment), are estimated to have occupied 98.8% of the entire polarizer production volume.
In the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was thought to reduce the TV sales and diminish the entire TV monitor market, which could bring about a recession to the global polarizer market. To the contrary, the market has suddenly upturned and shipped the tremendous volume of polarizers, making the suppliers to concern about potential shortage in stocked products. The global pandemic has generated special demand for monitors, as TVs and electronic devices have been demanded more as consumers started staying longer hours at home, which also remarkably expanded the global market of polarizers and component films.
Trend of Retardation Films
In China and other parts of Asia in the beginning of 2020, production of electronic products were suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led the forecast for electronic device consumptions to decrease and for the global market of polarizers and component films to scale down. Quite contrary to expectations, production volume of polarizers has continued being in good demand since the latter half of 2020. It is because manufacturers of electronic displays and other products that use polarizers have procured polarizers ahead of schedule for safety stock and as a measure against rising unit price of displays. This has expanded the shipment volume of polarizers for display screens more than actual demand necessary, and has kept on making tight supply for major component films mainly for large monitor screens.
Without any changes in such a tendency in 2021, almost all the polarizer manufacturers have continued at their maximum production capacity. They are especially pressed for accepting orders by Chinese VA-LCD manufacturers, led by CSOT (China Star Optoelectronics Technology,) together with other manufacturers including HKC, CEC-Panda, CHOT and SHARP that have increased the number of display screens produced for TVs since 2020. The number of monitors produced has increased also by some Taiwanese manufacturers such as AUO and Innolux, in addition to SDC having once planned suspension of producing LCD but continued the production after all due to favorable market conditions, which has also rapidly expanded demand for retardation films by VA-LCD manufacturers furthermore.
On the other hand, the market of retardation films for IPS (In Plane Switching)-LCD is considerably dependent on the production volume of LCD TVs and computer displays developed by BOE, LGD, and HKC. Increased opportunities for using electronic devices for teleworking and remote working in the COVID-19 calamity have brought about favorable sales of displays as a whole, which is also true for IPS-displays for TVs and monitors, expanding the production.
The global production volume of polarizers in 2021 is expected to attain 621.7 million square meters, 108.3% on a YoY basis. Demand for display screens has remained strong in 2021, but supply of polarizers is tight, though almost all the polarizer manufacturers have continued being at maximum production capacity.
However, there are some uncertain factors from the latter half of 2021, such as 1) Potential limitation of production volume or potential adjustment of items to produce at display manufacturers, aiming at averting the shortage of stocked display screens stemming from shortage of driver integrated circuits and of glasses, 2) the stock conditions at manufacturers of assembled products and display screens, and 3) the special demand period of display screens which is expected to continue throughout 2021.
A new trend is observed in the polarizer market, which is expansion of applications other than TVs. Despite diminishing tendency of monitors, notebook PCs, tablet PCs, and other IT display screens, the market of display screens has suddenly started expanding since 2020 in the COVID-19 calamity. The display screens have tended to grow larger in size and higher in quality, in the status where demand for PC monitors and IT displays for remote working and gaming expected to go on expanding even after 2021. The polarizer market for the applications other than TVs is likely to be established as a new value-added business.
* Note: Since 2020, the global market of polarizers for display screens has been expanding the size more than the actual demand necessary, because the manufacturers of assembled products and electronic displays procured polarizers ahead of schedule as a measure against rising unit price of displays and also as safety stock. In this research, the global polarizer market size is based on the actual shipment volume at each manufacturer of polarizers and component films, which is generating a difference from the total square sizes of displays actually mounted on assembled products.
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