E Ink Holdings' president, Johnson Lee, says that demand for electronic shelf labels (ESL) displays is high - and in 2018 the company expects ESL displays to surpass e-reader displays in terms of area shipments.
This is very good news for EIH as the e-reader market has stagnated for years - and it is rather surprising for many as we have all been used to consider e-readers to be the main market for e-paper displays.
E Ink currently offers either monochrome (black and white) or three-color (yellow or red) displays for the ESL market, but the company is considering adding new displays with more colors for this market. Most ESL displas range from 1.7-inch to 3-inch. For the ESL market, E Ink only supplies the display film and not the entire panel or module. The backplane production is performed by LCD makers - including AUO, BOE and JDI.
E Ink expects the ESL market to grow from around $170 million in 2017 to $470-580 million in 2020. E Ink plans to double its e-paper film capacity by the end of 2018 or early 2019, as it anticipates a large increase in demand.