Nanotechnology for Consumer Products

Published - Jun 2005| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - NAN037A
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Report Highlights

  • The value of the nanotechnology inputs used to produce consumer products worldwide is estimated at $6.7 billion in 2005, and projected to reach $10.5 billion in 2010, at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 9.1%.
  • The total market for end products that rely on nanotechnologies for their production, functioning and/or distribution was worth more than $800 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $958 billion in 2010.
  • Nanoparticles (chiefly used in the production of automobile catalytic converters and tires) account for more than 90% of inputs.
  • By 2010, nanostructured materials are projected to increase their share of the total market from 7.5% to 19%, and nanotubes from 0.002% to 8.3%. Nanocomposites and nanosensors, while expected to grow, should remain small in percentage terms.


Much of nanotechnology’s promise remains in the future, but the era of nanotechnology-based consumer products already is here. Indeed, it has been here for quite some time. Nanoparticles were used in the glazes on Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) ceramics. “Carbon black,” used since the early 1900s as a reinforcing agent in automobile tires and other rubber goods, is a nanoparticle. Kodak scientists developed nanoparticulate silver materials before World War II, for use in color and black and white products.

Today, nanotechnology plays an increasingly important role in a wide range of consumer products. It is creating new market opportunities for consumer product manufacturers, while increasing the efficiency of manufacturing and logistics operations. Conversely, the consumer products industry is an important market for many nanotechnology companies. Last but not least, nanotechnology is having an impact on consumers’ lives, providing them with new or improved products, often at a lower cost.

This BCC report provides an analysis of the technical possibilities as well as the commercial potential of nanotechnologies for consumer products applications. The study identifies consumer-related nanotechnology applications with the greatest commercial potential in the near to mid-term, projects future demand, and evaluates the potential impact of these developments on the nanotechnology industry.


The report contains:

  • Definitions and a brief history of nanotechnology as related to consumer applications
  • Current and potential applications for nanotechnology, including production processes, inputs and handling after production
  • Applications and end-users with the greatest commercial potential through 2010
  • Global market trends for nanotechnology-based consumer products through 2010
  • Discussion of related markets for nanotechnologies used in consumer product applications
  • Analysis of factors that will influence the long-term development of nanotechnology consumer applications
  • Key players, market shares and industry structure.


Projecting the market for emerging technologies such as most nanotechnology applications, whose commercial potential has not yet been proven, is a challenging task, which may help to explain why most analysts so far have focused on technology assessments. This report uses a multi-phase approach to identify the nanotechnology-based consumer applications and related nanotechnologies with the greatest commercial potential and quantify the resulting market for these products and technologies, as described below.

In the first phase of the analysis, we identified a "long list" of potential consumer nanotechnology applications. In the second phase, we eliminated those applications that appear to have little likelihood of making it into commercial production in the next five years, through a literature review and statements by industry sources. The result of phase two was a "short list" of consumer applications with the greatest near-to-mid-term commercial potential.

The third phase focused on quantifying the potential market for each short-listed nanophotonics device and identifying the main prerequisites for commercial success. Various methodologies and data sources were used to develop the projections, including trend line projections, input-output analysis, and estimates of future demand from industry sources. Dozens of industry sources were consulted in the preparation of this report.


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 Communications Co. reports, including several nanotechnology-related market assessments, such as GB-290 Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Assessment, GB-281 Nanocatalysts, GB-310 Nanosensors, and G-314 Nanotechnology for Photonics.

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