The global transparent conductive film market is expected to grow with a CAGR of around 8% during the forecast period. The major factor driving the growth of the market studied include increasing demand from the consumer electronics industry and augmenting growth in the photovoltaic industry.
- On the flipside, high cost of indium tin oxide, and unfavorable conditions arising due to COVID-19 impact on the overall market are expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
- Technological advancements in transparent conductive films production is expected to offer numerous opportunities for the manufacturers in the near future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the global market with the majority of demand coming from countries such as China, South Korea, and Japan.
Key Market Trends
Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) on Glass to Dominate the Market
- Indium tin oxide is a ternary composition of indium, tin, and oxygen in various proportions, and depending upon the oxygen content, it can be described as an alloy or a ceramic. In preparation of indium tin oxide, almost 45% of indium is used in it.
- It is widely used as transparent conducting oxides owing to its optical transparency, electrical conductivity and it can be deposited as a thin film.
- Indium tin oxide on glass is highly transparent and possesses excellent electrical conductivity. It offers excellent light transmittance from the visible to the near-infrared range.
- Superior properties of indium tin oxide on glass such as low microroughness, excellent homogeneity of the electrical surface resistance, reflective for infrared wavelengths, excellent coating adhesion and abrasion resistance, and high uniformity of optical transmittance, makes it ideal for thermal conductive films.
- Indium tin oxide on glass have a wide range of applications such as LED and OLED displays, micro structuring applications, heat able microscope slides and coverslips for medical technology, circuit substrates for electronics, optical and conductive transparent coatings for touch screen and touch-sensitive display technology, conductive coatings for transparent electrodes, organic solar cells, infrared mirrors, reflective infrared filters, coatings for de-icing windows and anodes for organic LEDs (OLED).
- ITO thin films for glass substrates are increasingly utilized in glass windows in order to conserve energy.
- However, indium oxide-coatings are not recommended for continued exposure to temperatures more than 300°F, or 150°C in oxygen or air atmospheres, which may result in undesired changes in resistivity. ITO is considered to be brittle, lacks flexibility and the fabrication process involves high temperatures and vacuum and therefore is relatively slow and not cost effective, which is likely to decrease the demand for ITO on glass films in the coming years
- Moreover, indium, which is the main material of ITO films, is a rare metal and is unevenly distributed, and therefore, there is a risk in terms of stable supply, as well as the issue of increasing prices.
- While there has been significant work on thin metal nanowire grids, conductive polymers, carbon nanotubes, and graphene to develop TCO’s with lower sheet resistances for higher speed performance, projections still suggest a significant demand for ITO based films owing to its properties, in the coming years.
China to Dominate the Asia-Pacific Market
- China is the world’s largest economy, in terms of PPP (purchasing power parity). However, it is the second-largest economy, when calculated in terms of nominal GDP. The country’s growth slowed down in the past few years, and it recorded 6% GDP growth in 2019, which has been the slowest rate in the country’s economic history since 1990. This growth rate is moderating, due to the maturing of China’s economy, combined with tensions over the country’s trade disputes with the United States.
- Although China was the first country to be affected by COVID-19 and its consequent lockdown, it became the first country to lift the lockdown. Currently, it is on its long journey toward normalcy. However, a major chunk of the Chinese economy is linked to foreign exports, which are witnessing low demand. This factor may negatively affect the Chinese industry in the near future.
- China is the hub for the electronics industry, especially for various products, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, televisions, etc. Some of the key companies manufacturing smartphones in the country include Huawei, Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Lenovo, of which Samsung closed it production facility in 2019, owing to the decrease in its market share and increase in tariffs.
- The country enjoyed unbeatable share in the global smart phone production market in the past decade, primarily due to the ease in raw material availability and low labor costs as compared to the other countries.
- However, on a darker side, the country is witnessing a shift in production of smart phones to other Asian countries, such as India, which is decreasing the production of smart phones in the country. Hence, this is likely to have a direct impact on the market studied. Similarly, world’s largest laptop manufacturers, HP and Dell ( ~40% share), manufacture majority of their products in China. Hence, the country was a promising market for transparent conductive films in the country.
- However, a similar trend as that in the smart phones market is being observed in the laptop market as well. The production shift is not as drastic as that of smart phones, but many laptop manufacturers are planning to move their manufacturing bases out of China. HP is planning to move almost one-third of its capacity from China to other Asian countries.
- Despite the above-mentioned scenario, the impact of COVID-19 is likely to have a drastic impact on the laptop sales, thus, affecting the future production in the country.
- On a brighter side, China overtook South Korea in LED TV manufacturing across the world in 2019. Of the 152.16 million unit LCD TVs sold across the world in the first three quarters the previous years, China held a share of almost 32% and the sales were particularly very significant in the third quarter.
- Some of the top television manufacturers in the country include Skyworth, Xiaomi, Hisense, Changhong, TCL, Haier, Cool, Konka, Philips, and Samsung, among which Xiaomi dominated the market in 2019.
- Furthermore, the energy sector, especially the solar power sector, is a key driver for the demand in the transparent conductive films market. China has more solar capacity than any other country in the world, and it is home to one of the biggest solar farms in the world (in Tengger Desert). The nation is expected to remain the largest investor in renewable energy during the foreseeable future.
- China is also looking to dramatically increase the proportion of solar energy in its power mix, which is expected to create a huge demand for transparent conductive films in the country during the forecast period.
- However, COVID-19 has downsized the demand for electronics in China, and this trend is expected to continue even after the pandemic, during the forecast period. Such factors are expected to slowdown the demand for transparent conductive films from this industry.
The global transparent conductive films market is fragmented, with the presence of several global and regional manufacturers. Some of the key players in the market include NITTO DENKO CORPORATION, OIKE & Co., Ltd., TEIJIN LIMITED, SEKISUI NANO COAT TECHNOLOGY, and OFILM GROUP CO., LTD., among others.
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