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Sapphire industry: More than just LEDs

LED remains the dominant sapphire application in 2016. Overall, rates of usage in smartwatches have been disappointing and have decreased below 2015 levels. In parallel, smartphone display screen opportunities haven’t taken off. Within the highly competitive sapphire industry, players are chasing any opportunity to survive and optimize their cost structure. Prices seem to have reached bottom and stabilized after a rough ride over the last 12 months. After a dip in the second half of 2015, LED substrate demand has been growing strongly through 2016 and is now at record high levels, even triggering a limited shortage of high-quality 4″ materials and wafers. According to Yole Développement (Yole), the worldwide quarterly sapphire wafer consumption for LEDs has reached 28.5 million of TIE (Q3, 2016).

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