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Photonics market: The mood is improving

The world market for photonics has increased considerably even in the pandemic years 2020 and 2021. Accordingly, a recent outlook by the industry association SPECTARIS indicates positive trends.

In the overall view, the world market for photonics presents an incredibly positive picture despite the pandemic: For instance, the important Solactive/ EPIC Core Photonics Index rose to a five-year high in fall 2021. This is driven by the increasing sales on the global laser market, which grew by eight percent in 2020 to USD 16.5 billion and, according to forecasts, will increase by another 10.4 percent to USD 18.2 billion by the end of 2021. The overall global market for photonics also remains on a growth course. Based on a market volume of USD 757 billion in 2019, analysts expect the magic trillion-dollar mark to be broken as early as 2025, with a value of USD 1.04 trillion.

Lots of light—less shadow

A consideration of the individual market segments shows a heterogeneous situation for 2020. Large increases in the market for sensors (+37.6%), lithography (+19%), and lasers for research and development, defense and communication were offset to some extent by declining sales in many other areas. These included lasers for medicine, material processing, printing technology, and the market for optical storage and displays. But especially with laser processing systems, the situation should ease considerably as a result of the expected economic boom. Optech Consulting predicts 12% growth for 2021, which will return the market almost to the level of the strong sales year 2018. The drivers include production technology for consumer electronics and for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market.

According to surveys carried out in the three top regional markets, China, USA, and EU, optimism prevails. Based on a survey conducted by the German industry association SPECTARIS, this also applies in the German photonics industry. It predicts 14 percent growth in sales for 2021, driven by increasing demand (+15.9%) from the aforementioned top three markets.

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