Touch screen panels Global shipments of touch-screen panels are projected to double by 2016, reaching nearly 3 billion units. Photo: Reuters

Global shipments of touchscreen panels are projected to double by 2016, reaching nearly 3 billion units as a wide variety of products, including smartphones, tablets and even notebook PCs, are adopting the technology.

According to the IHS DisplayBank “Touch Panel Issue and Cost/Industry Analysis Report,” as many as 2.8 billion touchscreen panels will ship in 2016, up from 1.3 billion in 2012. In 2013, the shipments are expected to increase 34 percent, reaching a total of 1.8 billion units.

“Growth in the touchscreen market will be driven by increasing penetration in markets beyond the smartphone and tablet businesses,” Duke Yi, senior manager for display components and materials research at IHS, said in a statement.

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“Demand so far has largely been limited to these two markets. However, touchscreen sales are increasing dramatically across a broad range of products, particularly notebook PCs.”

Apart from smartphones, tablets, notebooks and PCs, other products like LCD monitors, digital still cameras, portable navigation devices, portable media players, portable game devices, automobiles, ebook readers, camcorders, digital photo frames and portable DVD players are also expected to see growth in penetration of touchscreen technology over the next three years.

Although the size of these markets can vary widely, IHS believes that their aggregate growth will help the touchscreen market expand in the coming years.

The data indicate that global shipments of notebook PCs featuring touchscreen displays will rise to 78 million units in 2016, up from just 4.6 million in 2012. By 2016, notebooks will account for 12.3 percent of global touchscreen shipments by area, up from less than 2 percent in 2012.

Given that prices for touch-enabled notebooks are declining, touchscreens are becoming more affordable for mainstream consumer notebook PC buyers. The design of notebooks is also evolving to suit the touch technology better, the report added.