Santa Clara, Calif. — Smartphone and tablet sales will drive cover-glass shipments to more than 2.5 billion in four years, according to NPD DisplaySearch.
Smartphones will be the primary driver of the shipment increases this year, said Calvin Hsieh, DisplaySearch research director, accounting for about 84 percent of the shipments. At the same time, tablets will use about 14 percent of the glass shipped, with touch-based laptops part of the remainder.
However, as Windows 8 penetration in the laptop space increases, there will be a corresponding increase in the need for cover glass for this product category, DisplaySearch said.
The growth curve for cover glass will have 1.5 billion units shipped this year, growing to 2.5 billion in 2017. Smartphone shipments will remain the primary use for the glass, absorbing about 2 billion of the shipments. Tablets will grab about 200 million of the shipments in 2013, and this figure will almost double by 2017, DisplaySearch said.
Touch-based laptops will remain behind the other product categories, but will also see healthy growth, with 42 million cover glass shipments dedicated to these devices this year, increasing to 124 million in four years.