May 11, 2021

Apple is reducing Samsung’s control on its iPhone OLED panel supply

Samsung enjoys a dominant position as the leading mobile OLED panel manufacturer. Many companies source the OLED panels they use in their products from Samsung. Apple is no exception. For a few years now, Samsung has supplied the bulk of all OLED panels for the iPhone.

That’s going to change this year. As competing manufacturers improve their OLED yields, Apple is diversifying its supply chain. The company won’t be buying as many iPhone OLED panels as it did before from Samsung.

LG Display wants to steal Samsung’s thunder

A report out of South Korea points out that Samsung Display supplied 78% of all OLED panels used for the iPhone last year. However, it will only supply about 65% of all panels required by Apple this year.

It’s claimed that Apple is expected to source 169 million OLED panels this year. Samsung is expected to supply 110 million units with LG Display and China’s BOE providing 50 million and 9 million units respectively.

LG Display’s share will increase from 21% last year to 29% in 2021. In terms of volume, it’s going to ship 50 million units this year compared to the 25 million it shipped last year. LG Display has been working hard to steal some of Samsung Display’s market share.

The drop in Samsung’s share of the pie is more than what analysts had initially predicted. For Apple, it makes sense from a purely business standpoint to have a diversified supply chain. Not only does that mitigate any supply shortages but it also provides more bargaining power. The increased competition will enable Apple to secure the panels it needs at much better prices.

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