Key printed electronics materials swell to $2.6 billion in 2017

Driven by the need for cost reductions, conductive inks and pastes, new transparent conductive films and semiconductor inks will grow the market for printed electronics materials to $2.6 billion in 2017, according to a report by Lux Research.

“Much of the promise of printed electronics lies in the potential to manufacture devices through low-cost, high-throughput manufacturing,” says Jonathan Melnick, research analyst and lead author of the report:  Inking Money: The Prospects for Materials in Printed Electronics. “But realising this potential requires materials that offer good enough performance and are compatible with printing processes – without becoming too costly themselves.”
Lux Research analysts examined a range of materials, varying widely in complexity, performance and cost – to assess their value proposition. Among their findings:
• Silver thrives while alternatives see slow uptake. The market for opaque conductive inks alone will grow to $2.4 billion in 2017 from $1.4 billion in 2012 with medical and RFID among the fastest-growing segments. However, silver paste will still dominate and other materials will only find traction in solar applications.
• Rapid smartphone adoption offers bonanza. Transparent conductive films (TCF) to replace indium tin oxide (ITO), widely used in touchscreens will grow to $705 million with $112 million coming from the inks. Growth is led by smartphone touchscreens with tablets a distant second.
• Displays lead the way for printed semiconductors. Printed semiconductors will grow to $68 million in 2017 with solution-processed OLED emissive materials the lead application.