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Touchscreens to become a $9B-market by 2015

Posted: 22 May 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:touchscreen? interface? controller?

DisplaySearch's 2009 Touch Panel Market Analysis Report forecasted that total touchscreen module market will grow to $9 billion by 2015, from $3.6 billion in 2008, with a CAGR of 14 percent.

"Touchscreens are becoming widespread due to the ease of use and intuitive interfaces they enable, which can save time and increase productivity. Falling prices have also spurred adoption. Finally, touchscreen devices are now perceived as cool and fun," noted Jennifer Colegrove, director of display technologies at DisplaySearch. "Touchscreen penetration has been rapidly increasing in mobile phones, portable navigation devices, gaming and other applications. Over the next several years, touchscreens will undergo strong growth in large-size applications, such as retail, ticketing, point of information and education/training."

The market research firm surveyed over 170 suppliers of touchscreen modules, controller ICs, ITO films and other technologies to produce the 2009 Touch Panel Market Analysis. These firms are profiled in the report, and 2008 shipments and revenues for over 100 touchscreen suppliers are included.

The touchscreen industry is extremely diverse, with different companies pursuing several different technologies. There are over a dozen touchscreen technologies. Resistive touchscreen is the leader in terms of unit shipments and over 60 companies are manufacturing it. However, both surface and projected capacitive technologies have attracted numerous suppliers, and many companies are also pursuing multi-touch capabilities.

Table 1 indicates the number of touchscreen suppliers by technology. Some companies supply only a single touch technology, while others supply several, such as Elo/Tyco Electronics and 3M. In addition, some companies only produce controller ICs, while others manufacture entire modules, including the touch sensor and controller IC.

The study also found that projected capacitive shipments have increased substantially. Popularized by Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch since 2007, shipments of projected capacitive touchscreens have increased substantially and become the second biggest touch technology following closely behind resistive touch. About 27 touchscreen suppliers manufacture it. Not only have more resistive touchscreen manufacturers moved to produce projected capacitive, but projected capacitive technology has evolved to single layer or film type, and can serve sizes larger than 100-inch.

Touchscreen module revenue forecast

Another trend observes is the increasing multi-touch penetration rate. Before the iPhone, multi-touch implementation required large, heavy and expensive devices. Currently, about 50 suppliers are shipping multi-touchscreens using different technologies. Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 will support multi-touch, enhancing industry interest.

It was no surprise that mobile phones are the biggest application of touchscreens in terms of unit shipments. The study found that there were about 220 million touchscreens shipped for mobile phone applications in 2008, which is a 16 percent penetration rate. According to DisplaySearch, the penetration rate of touch in mobile phones will reach nearly 40 percent by 2015.

2009 will be marked with even more new touch technologies reaching commercialization and increasing penetration, such as in-cell, force sensing and some combination-type touch panels.

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