Collaborations, new products, and short replacement cycles: 3 trends to watch in the display glass market

Interactive Flat Panel Display

The touchscreens on our phones are just another miraculous little piece of technology that we tend to take for granted. But if you ever have to use a device that predates responsive modern touchscreens—an old GPS, for instance—then you understand just how far we’ve come.

There’s a lot that goes into making a touch screen, and the cover glass is a big part of this. And we, as consumers, ask a lot of the glass on our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets. It needs to be durable, scratch resistant, damage resistant and responsive enough to enable the sensitive touchscreens that we expect.

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But the process of making this glass is intense. It’s a process that requires a lot of labor but has little scope or automation. The yield rates also depend on the skill and experience of manufacturers in the industry. To give you an idea of the process that goes into creating the glass on your phone, here is a very rudimentary outline of the glassmaking process.



The overall complexity of the process results in high production costs. These costs, coupled with intense market competition and fluctuating exchange rates are causing some upheaval in the display glass market.  

But despite the uncertainty on the production side of things, demand for gadgets with better displays will drive growth in the global cover glass market over the next five years. 2.07 billion units were shipped in 2015, with 3.5 billion units expected to ship by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.11%.

Global cover glass market 2015-2020 (billions of units)

Source: Technavio

Technavio analysts have identified three key trends that are expected to impact the cover glass market over the forecast period.

Increasing collaborations

Glassmakers are joining forces with device manufacturers to expand business and improve market shares.

One such symbiotic relationship is the joining of Corning and Samsung to create the creatively named Samsung Corning Precision Glass. The collaboration is aimed at lowering price fluctuations, diminishing the supply-demand gap, and ensuring the hassle-free production and integration of cover glass.

Development of new variants

OEMs in the global cover glass market are continually upgrading their product portfolios in order to stay relevant. For instance, Corning’s has released four versions of its Gorilla Glass, each version boasting additional benefits.

Short replacement cycle of portable electronic devices

People are updating their portable electronics more and more frequently, and this is having the knock-on effect of boosting demand for electronics components, like cover glass. This short replacement cycle carries a lot of benefits for vendors since it allows them to upgrade their features while catering to the aftermarket sale of cover glass for existing devices, which diversifies their risk of high inventory in the supply chain.

Want more about cover glass? Check out Technavio’s new report.