The global transparent conductive film market has substantial growth prospects over the forecast period. Technological proliferation and increased use in consumer electronics can be attributed to increased global demand. These films are largely used in consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, televisions, monitors, all-in-one computers, and tablet PCs. Increased use of touch User Interface (UI) in handheld as well as other devices has augmented the demand for such advanced films. Technological advancements and the increasing popularity of such consumer devices for personal and commercial use have widened the scope for industry growth. In addition, minimal reflection, flexibility, slenderness, and robustness along with its lower power consumption properties are the key factors that are expected to drive market growth. Displays and photovoltaic applications possess huge potential for the application in the future. Moreover, rising demand for tablet PCs and notebooks is also expected to provide the necessary momentum to the transparent conductive film market over the forecast period.
These films can be segmented according to the technologies used for manufacturing, which include Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) on glass, ITO on PET, non-ITO oxides, silver nanowires, carbon nanotubes, grapheme, micro-fine wire, and metal mesh. ITO films govern the transparent conductive film market. Strong trends, however, seem to undermine its dominance for a long time; necessary technologies had reached their performance limit, and hence could not serve the growing needs such as high mechanical flexibility and ultralow sheet resistance. The availability of new substitutes has led to a boost to both performance and cost benefits. Silver nanowires and metal mesh offer a lower sheet resistance than both ITO and other alternatives without significantly compromising optical quality. Their pricing strategy continues to be based on undercutting ITO to maintain a more-for-less value proposition, although this is becoming increasingly challenging.
Smartphones, notebooks, all-in-one tablet PCs, monitors & TV displays, OLED lighting, Organic Photovoltaics (OPV), and Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC) comprise the end-use segments for the transparent conductive films market. Demand is escalating across different application sectors due to the rising demand for touch-enabled devices and industry penetration of portable computing devices. OPV and DSSC along with OLED lighting are also potential markets; however, they are expected to witness slow growth during the forecast period due to uncertainty in demand. Unit consumption of TCFs in smartphones is much higher as compared to tablets and tablet PCs. Smartphones are expected to generate significant demand in the current transparent conductive film market, followed by the tablet and tablet PCs. OLED lighting and photovoltaic applications constitute a small, but promising sector. Multiple options for a specific application and the unavailability of a one-size-fits-all solution is expected to hamper the market demand.
Geographically, the market is expected to witness consistency in North American owing to accelerated demand for smartphones and a flourishing consumer electronics industry. Asia Pacific is expected to witness high growth owing to the concentration of electronic device manufacturing particularly in China and Japan. Technology major, Canatu Oy, has recently announced that it has signed multiple contracts to supply its conductive transparent films to automobile producers across the U.S. These have applications in in-car touch surfaces for control panels and entertainment system functions on steering wheels or seat backs with no haze or reflectance. This has boosted the demand for infotainment systems and human–machine interface products to replace buttons, switches, and knobs with sleek integrated capacitive sensing into unique and stylish 3D in-car surfaces. Major vendors in the transparent conductive film industry include 3M, Cambrios Technologies Corp., Canatu Oy, DONTECH Inc., DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Fujifilm, Nitto Denko Corporation, Pike & Company, Rolith Inc., and Toyobo.
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