Printed Electronics: The Global Market

Published - Jun 2008| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - IFT066A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for PE will increase from $2.8 billion in 2007 to an estimated $3.1 billion by the end of 2008. It should reach $8.8 billion in 2013, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.2%.
  • The market for printed electronics for energy applications is expected to grow at a CAGR of 139.5%, from an estimated $18.1 million in 2008 to $1.4 billion in 2013.
  • Printed electroluminescent lighting and displays make up the largest technology segment, although their market share is projected to decline from 85% in 2007 to 34% in 2013.


Printed electronics (PE) are a relatively new technology for fabricating electronic devices on materials such as paper, plastic, and textiles using electrically functional inks in combination with standard printing processes such as screen printing, offset lithography and inkjet printing. Printed electronics have the potential to bring about a revolution in electronic applications. 
Proponents initially emphasized printed electronics’ ability to make many electronic devices more cheaply and quickly than conventional silicon-based electronics technologies. Printed electronics’ simpler R&D and manufacturing process can reduce the capital cost of a fabrication plant by 100 times and expedite the time to market new products from several months to a couple of weeks.
Later, proponents emphasized the advantages of printed electronics in terms of light weight and portability. They talked of a hypothetical mobile phone the size and shape of a fountain pen, with both display and keyboard printed on a snap-back roller. The same snap back roller would generate and store electricity from light and heat.
However, the potentially revolutionary character of printed electronics lies not in their low cost, ease of manufacturing or small size and light weight. Rather, it lies in printed electronics’ ability to facilitate applications that are not feasible or at least uneconomical with conventional silicon-based electronics, such as flexible displays, smart labels, animated posters, and active clothing. In such applications, printed electronics do not cannibalize the market for silicon semiconductors, but open new market opportunities.
Commercial production of PE, which is currently valued at several billion dollars, is projected by some analysts to increase to tens of billions in the next ten years. The proposed report will take a hard look at these projections in order to determine the realistic market outlook for PE. In the process, it will offer insights as to where the most valuable opportunities exist in the PE value chain, i.e., in applications, basic PE devices, manufacturing, or materials.
The goal of this report is to provide investors and others with realistic information on the commercial potential of various printed electronics technologies and applications to assist them in making key business decisions. Specific objectives include identifying segments of the printed electronics market with the greatest commercial potential in the near to mid-term (2008 to 2013), projecting future demand in these segments, and evaluating the challenges that must be overcome for each segment to realize its potential.
This report is intended especially for executives, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists and other readers with a need to know where the market for printed electronics is headed in the next 5 years. The report is written primarily for lay readers rather than technologists, but it should also be useful to readers in the research and development community who seek to anticipate future flows in R&D funding. Officials of related government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy should also find the report interesting for what it says about the future of such applications as organic printed photovoltaics.
The scope of report covers the global market (except military applications) for all types of printed electronics between 2007 and 2013, including: 
  • Organic light-emitting diode (OLED)
  • Electroluminescent (EL)
  • Electrophoretic (EP)
  • Electrochromic (EC)
  • Organic photovoltaic (OPV)
  • Other types of printed electronics 
Military markets for printed electronics are not covered in the report, because security constraints make it difficult to obtain reliable data. Otherwise, the study format includes the following major elements:
  • Executive summary
  • Types of printed electronics, their respective properties, advantages and disadvantages
  • Printed electronics applications
  • Size, segmentation, and projected growth trends of the printed electronics market
  • Industry structure
  • Appendices (Vendor profiles, key patents)
The report’s findings and conclusions are based on information gathered from a wide range of sources, including materials and equipment vendors, users, engineering and consulting firms. Interview data was combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and on-line databases to produce the projections contained in this report. 
The base-year for analysis and projection is 2007. With 2007 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2008 to 2013. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective. 
The methodologies and assumptions used to develop the market projections in this report are discussed at length under the various segments addressed. The report carefully documents data sources and assumptions. This way, readers can see how the market estimates were developed and, if they so desire, test the impact on the final numbers of changing assumptions such as price.
Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. He is also the author of numerous other Business Communications Co. reports on advanced technologies and materials for the electronics industry, including Smart and Interactive Textiles (AVM050B), Global Markets for Lithographic Chemicals (CHM045A), Advanced Materials and Devices for Renewable Energy Systems (EGY053A), Enabling Technologies for High-Performance Computing (IFT061A); Nanostructured Materials: Electronic/Magnetic/Optoelectronic (NAN017F), Nanopatterning (NAN041A); Semiconductor Microlithography: Materials and Markets (SMC048A); Semiconductor/Microelectronics Cleaning (SMC064A);andAnalog and Mixed Signal Devices (SMC065A).
BCC has been a leader in market research and consulting to high-technology industries since 1991. Readers of this study may find the following BCC reports and newsletters relevant.

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