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Touch Screen Module Revenues Forecast to Reach $9B by 2015

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

In a recently released report, DisplaySearch is forecasting that the total touch screen module market will grow to $9 billion by 2015, from $3.6 billion in 2008, with a CAGR of 14%.

"Touch screens 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, touch screen devices are now perceived as cool and fun," noted Jennifer Colegrove, PhD, Director of Display Technologies at DisplaySearch. "Touch screen penetration has been rapidly increasing in mobile phones, portable navigation devices, gaming and other applications. Over the next several years, touch screens will undergo strong growth in large-size applications, such as retail, ticketing, point of information and education/training."

DisplaySearch surveyed over 170 suppliers of touch screen 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 touch screen suppliers are included.

The touch screen industry is extremely diverse, with different companies pursuing several different technologies. There are over a dozen touch screen technologies. Resistive touch screen 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.

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.

Touch Screen Suppliers by Technology

Technology Number of
Acoustic (SAW) 9
Acoustic (Bending wave) 3
Combo 4
Digitizer 6
In-cell 6
Infrared 13
Optical Imaging 10
Projected Capacitive 27
Resistive 64
Surface Capacitive 22
Z-Other Technology 6
Multi-touch 50
Tactile feedback 4
Controller IC only 16

Source: DisplaySearch

Additional key trends discussed in the report are the following:

  • Projected capacitive shipments have increased substantially. Popularized by Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch since 2007, shipments of projected capacitive touch screens have increased substantially and become the second biggest touch technology following closely behind resistive touch. About 27 touch screen suppliers manufacture it. Not only have more resistive touch screen 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".
  • Multi-touch is increasing its penetration rate. Before the iPhone, multi-touch implementation required large, heavy and expensive devices. Currently, about 50 suppliers are shipping multi-touch screens using different technologies. Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 will support multi-touch, enhancing industry interest.
  • Mobile phones are the biggest application of touch screens in terms of unit shipments. There were about 220 million touch screens shipped for mobile phone applications in 2008, which is a 16% penetration rate. DisplaySearch forecasts that the penetration rate of touch in mobile phone will reach nearly 40% 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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