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Touch-enabled Mobile Devices Will Drive Worldwide Cover Glass Shipments to More than 2.5 billion by 2017
In 2012, mobile phone cover glass shipments increased 40% Y/Y, accounting for 84% of total shipments. Fueled by smartphone adoption, mobile phones are on track to remain the dominant driver for cover glass, with shipments forecast to reach more than 2 billion by 2017. However, with increasing global smartphone penetration, growth is expected to slow to 21% Y/Y in 2014.
Tablet PCs account for only 14% of cover glass shipments in 2014, but they are expected to grow rapidly, reaching 200 million in 2013 and nearly double that by 2017. Touch penetration is effectively 100% in tablet PCs, and they have larger screen sizes than smartphones. Therefore, tablet PCs will have an even higher impact on the shipment area and revenue for cover glass.
Figure: Worldwide Cover Glass Shipment Growth/Decline
Source: Touch Panel Cover Glass Report
"Mobile phones and tablet PCs are the two largest applications requiring touch screen capabilities and are the most critical applications to the cover glass market," said Calvin Hsieh, research director, NPD DisplaySearch. "One of the main market drivers is projected capacitive touch. Cover glass is not necessarily a functional component for projected capacitive touch, unless it uses the one glass solution (OGS), but almost every brand has designed products with cover glass since Apple started the trend."
Cover glass has not been adopted as rapidly in the notebook PC market. Cover glass shipments for notebook PCs in 2013 are expected to be 42 million, growing to almost 124 million by 2017. This growth depends on how Windows 8 is adopted by consumers.
"We expect touch, and thus cover glass, penetration in the notebook market to be about 12% in 2013, with the one glass solution (OGS) being the most widely adopted," said Hsieh. "Penetration is limited by high touch module costs, although some models like the Mac Book Pro use cover glass for design reasons. If lower cost solutions such as OGS were to be widely adopted then penetration could be significantly higher."