Optical coatings are one or more layers of thin film applied on the surface of an optical component. These layers of film create interference to the incoming light and hence alter the reflection and transmission properties of the optical system. Typically value-added materials, coatings improve the property of the optical system, but do not alter the intrinsic properties of the end-use products.
The global market for optical coatings is expected to reach $14.2 billion in 2021, up from $9.5 billion in 2016, rising at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.3%. The commercial segment, the largest market, should grow from $5.4 billion in 2016 to $9.4 billion in 2021, demonstrating a five-year CAGR of 11.5%. The consumer segment is expected to reach $4.1 billion and $4.8 billion in 2016 and 2021, respectively, with a five-year CAGR of 3.2%.
The commercial category includes the telecom, defense, architecture, medical, solar, transportation and industrial segments. This segment's strong growth reflects a recovering construction industry in the Americas and healthy growth rates in lighting and machine vision applications, and automotive sensors.
Optical technology content in vehicles is growing as cameras and radar-based sensors enter the mainstream market. Installation rates of low-cost coated solar panels are expected to remain strong. Optical coatings increase solar panel efficiency, lowering the cost per kilowatt. Global value in this segment is projected to increase to almost $9.4 billion in the commercial segment in 2021.
Custom coating design opportunities support a fragmented industry in which consolidation remains a trend as better capitalized firms acquire smaller ones. Some manufacturers acquire coating technology to vertically integrate their product processing while contract with third parties to produce components. Another trend is the movement of high volume, low margin coating to Taiwan and China.
The consumer category includes flat-screen TVs, computers, tablets, cell phones and eyeglass coatings. In 2015, global value for coatings in the consumer segment was more than $3.8 billion.
"BCC Research projects slow but steady growth in this segment, which should demonstrate a 3.2% CAGR of 3.2% from 2016 through 2021," says BCC Research analyst Gaurav Bhushan. "The slow growth reflects maturing product markets, tepid economic recovery in developed countries, and slowing growth in emerging markets."
Optical Coatings: Technologies and Global Markets (PHO006B) analyzes the optical coatings, which may be devices but more typically are a value-added feature of optical elements such as lenses, mirrors, or flat-screen displays. Global market drivers and trends, with data from 2015, estimates for 2016, and projections of CAGRs through 2021 also are provided.