Microscopy: The Global Market

Published - Jun 2007| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - IAS017B
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for microscopes and accessories was worth about $2.1 billion in 2006. Sales are projected to exceed $2.3 billion in 2007 and approach $3.6 billion in 2012, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% between 2007 and 2012.
  • The fastest-growing segments of the market are scanning probe microscopes, with a CAGR of 19.4% between 2007 and 2012, and charged particle microscopes with a CAGR from 2007 to 2012 of 9.0%. Optical microscopes are projected to have the lowest growth rate of any major market segment (5.6%).
  • As a result, charged particle microscopes, which have the largest market share of any product segment, are projected to increase their market share further, from 52% in 2006 to 52.1% in 2012. Optical microscopes are projected to lose market share, from 26.2% in 2006 to 21.9% in 2012.


The field of microscopy has undergone an enormous evolution since the earliest optical microscopes were developed in the 1600s. The optical microscope has been refined continuously since its introduction, resulting in today's superb scientific instruments. However, the optical microscope is ultimately limited in the minimum size and nature of the features it can resolve by manufacturability constraints and, ultimately, the physics of light itself.

New microscopy technologies have been developed to overcome these limitations, such as electron, scanning probe, and focused ion beam microscopy. The field of microscopy continues to evolve rapidly, as new requirements and imaging technologies are developed. While optical microscopes once accounted for the bulk of all microscopes sold in the world, today they are in the minority.

While microscopes are a billion-dollar industry, their true importance lies in the activities they make possible, such as life sciences research, microelectronics, and advanced materials science. Microscopy is particularly important to the expanding field of nanotechnology.


This report contains:


  • Optical (light) microscopes, electron microscopes, scanning probe microscopes, other types of microscope (e.g., focused ion beam, confocal), and microscope accessories
  • Microscope technologies
  • Patent analysis
  • Major end-uses and applications
  • Global market trends by type of instrument, end-user segment, geographical region, for the period 2006 through 2012
  • Technology trends, limits, and challenges
  • Industry structure (e.g., firm size and financial performance, ownership, market shares).



The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from industry sources, including microscope manufacturers and users. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the projections contained in this report.

The base year for analysis and projection is 2006. With 2006 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2007 through 2012. 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 analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on Detailed Market Projections.

All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2006 constant dollars.


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 a number of other Business Communications Co. studies, including several studies of microscopy-related technologies such as MFG016A, Nondestructive Testing; NAN035A, Nanosensors; NAN041A, Nanopatterning; NAN031B, Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Assessment; NAN036A, Nanotechnology for Photonics; NAN038A, Nanotechnology in Life Science Applications; and IAS015A, Materials Characterization Instruments.


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Published - Feb-2005| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - IAS017A

Report Highlights

  • The global market for microscopes and accessories is estimated to be $1.65 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $2.77 billion in 2009, at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 11.0%.
  • The fastest-growing segment of the market is that for scanning probe microscopes, at an AAGR of 20%.
  • Charged particle microscopes represent the largest segment, and are expected to rise at an AAGR of 13.0% to $1.3 billion in 2009.
  • Life science is the dominant end-user market while nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing are the fastest-growing with AAGRs of 20% and 14%, respectively.

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