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Key Printed Electronics Materials Swell to $2.6 Billion in 2017

Lux Research

Opaque conductive inks and paste reach $2.4 billion, with medical and RFID applications growing the fastest, says Lux Research.

BOSTON, MA – October 16, 2012 – 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,” said Jonathan Melnick, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Inking Money: The Prospects for Materials in Printed Electronics.” “But realizing 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.

The report, titled “Inking Money: The Prospects for Materials in Printed Electronics,” is part of the Lux Research Printed, Flexible, and Organic Intelligence service.