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Market Insight

Wide-screen smartphone display trend accelerates in Q2 2018

August 31, 2018

Jusy Hong Jusy Hong Research and Analysis Director, Smartphone

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  • Smartphones with wide-aspect-ratio displays greater than 16:9 accounted for 45 percent of global smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2018. For smartphone shipments from the 19 leading smartphone brands, the share of smartphones with wide displays exceeded 50 percent.
  • In the second quarter of 2018, 153 million smartphones with wide displays shipped globally.
  • Unit shipments of smartphones with six-inch-and-larger displays reached 6.8 million units, or 2 percent of overall smartphone shipments, in the first quarter of 2017, rising to 80 million units, or 23 percent of total shipments, in the second quarter of 2018.
  • Smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2018 with dual-rear cameras exceeded 100 million units, or 32 percent of overall shipments, for the first time.‚Äč

Our analysis

Over the past year and a half, new display formats with larger screens have gained traction with manufacturers and consumers alike. LG started this trend, with the launch of its G6 model in early 2017. Once considered to be a premium smartphone feature, wide displays are now featured on smartphones of all price points, from $1,000 down to $100.

The increasing popularity of wide displays has broken the six-inch barrier of smartphone screens. Combined with narrow-bezel display technology, wide displays increase handset screen size, while limiting the overall smartphone dimensions. Both smartphone manufacturers and consumers like larger screens, as long as the phone retains its overall compact form factor.

Meanwhile, dual camera penetration is also rising continuously. Dual camera set-ups started to appear in 2016, and their implementation has grown continuously since then. However, the popularity of wide displays has slowed the speed of dual camera adoption, because upgrading both simultaneously causes a larger increase in selling prices.

With two-thirds of smartphones in the global market priced below $250, component costs make it difficult for smartphone manufacturers to upgrade devices in this price range with all the latest hardware trends. Many smartphone makers have chosen wide displays as a focal point to update their hardware design, because these displays not only provide a clear customer benefit but they are also cost effective.

Chinese display panel makers are aggressively expanding wide display production, using amorphous-silicon LCD technology, which offers functionality that was previously only available in premium AMOLED and LTPS-LCD displays. At the same time, manufacturers are replacing conventional 16:9-aspect-ratio LCD panels with wide displays. Doing so increases the availability of wide display panels, reducing prices and making them a viable option across the gamut of smartphone price points.

Chinese smartphone makers will continue to expand the number of smartphones with large displays, wide displays and dual cameras. Upcoming iPhone models are expected to follow suit, which will cement these features as “must-have” hardware features in the global smartphone market.

Research by Market
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