GLEN ALLEN, VA-The e-paper display industry will surpass US$2 billion in annual revenues by 2012 and reach US$4 billion by 2014, according to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets (Glen Allen, VA). NanoMarkets predicts that the arrival of high-quality color e-paper technology, better encapsulation, and the ability to print large e-paper displays will create new opportunities in smart shelves, point-of-purchase (POP) displays, cell-phone displays, and disposable electronics. E-paper technology enables a high-contrast electronic display that looks like paper in appearance, is thin and lightweight, and high visibility even in sunlight while acting like other electronic displays.
One of the key findings of the report is that the development of color e-paper will enable penetration of the technology deeper into the cell-phone and signage market segments. Color e-paper will directly compete with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). The first e-paper technology developer able to commercialize color e-paper at a reasonable price may grab the lion’s share of the market. Currently, the most dominant player in the market is E-Ink (Cambridge, MA), makers of the frontplane of e-paper displays. Other players include SiPix (Fremont, CA), Aveso (Fridley, MN), and Siemens (New York, NY).
Another key finding is that non-electrophoretic materials such as liquid crystal and electrochromic materials will gain market share as platforms for e-paper, although e-paper displays based on electrophoretic materials will continue to dominate the market. By 2014, e-paper made with electrophoretic materials will have reached almost US$2.0 billion, with liquid-crystal-based e-paper at US$1.5 billion, and electrochromic e-paper at just under a US$1.0 billion.
The report forecasts more e-paper displays in cell phones, with the high-volume opportunities for e-paper firms being in sub-displays and eventually main displays. Motorola introduced its Motophone, the first cell phone to use e-paper, in 2006. The best thing that e-paper makers have on their side in the cell-phone market is the ability of their displays to be read in sunlight, an advantage that no other display technology can provide. By 2014, the cell-phone sector will generate US$763 million in e-paper display revenues.
E-paper is perfect for pricing signage, says the report. Smart shelves and POP displays are a “tremendous opportunity” for e-paper, enabling stores to electronically change shelf prices from a central location for promotions, adjust for changes in wholesale pricing, and make corrections when pricing on the shelves is incorrect. E-paper’s low power consumption means the displays are battery operable, and its light weight enables it to be affixed to shelves and walls. By 2014, NanoMarkets expects e-paper to generate US$1.2 billion from this sector, predicted to be the most profitable of all e-paper sectors.
The report, entitled, “E-Paper Markets: An Eight-Year Market and Technology Forecast,” provides an analysis of the commercial opportunities for e-paper. It also presents an assessment of the current and emerging technologies and materials used in e-paper displays and include detailed eight-year (volume and value) forecasts of the market for e-paper in the book-reader, cell-phone, computer, smart-card, smart-packaging, smart-shelf/POP display, and information-display sectors. In addition, it includes strategic profiles of 14 firms developing and marketing e-paper technology. The full report is available for purchase at www.nanomarkets.net.