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Photonics Growth in Europe Outpaces GDP

MUNICH, May 15, 2013 — With a worldwide market value projected to hit €615 billion (about $791 billion) in 2020 and to remain stronger than the gross domestic product (GDP), photonics has moved from a niche application to a key enabling technology, according to Photonics Industry Report 2013, which was presented at Laser World of Photonics this week. The high-tech segment also has demonstrated solid growth since 2005, despite the financial crisis, the report states.

A joint initiative of the trade associations VDMA, Spectaris and ZVEI, and of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the report examines 10 photonics subsegments in detail between 2005 and 2011 and projects their future growth through 2020.

Growth in the photonics industry, at about 6.5 percent a year, more than doubled that of the worldwide GDP (gross domestic product), the report states, and by 2010-11, the industry had recovered to its pre-economic crisis levels of 2008. In 2011, the market’s value was about €350 billion (about $450 billion).

The study projects that the worldwide photonics market will continue to significantly outpace the projected rate of the worldwide GDP, and will continue to create a significant number of jobs.

The report shows that photonics “is a driver for innovation and plays a decisive role for many end users,” said Thilo Brodtmann, deputy executive director of the German Engineering Federation VDMA.

Photonics production data — broken down by region and country — reveals a market share shift toward China (21%) that brought it nearly even with the leader, Japan, the report states. Since 2005, the market shares held by North America and Japan have declined significantly, the report states, and Europe, with its 18 percent share, now ranks ahead of North America (about 12 percent).

The data also shows that regions and countries tend to specialize in individual application segments, with production and manufacturing engineering, along with medical technology and life sciences, concentrated in the “established” industrial regions such as Japan, Europe and North America. The segments with a stronger IT and communications technology bent, on the other hand, are concentrated in Asia and the emerging industrial nations of China and South Korea, followed by Taiwan and Malaysia.

Europe’s photonics industry holds about 55 percent of the world market in production technology, including laser material processing and lithography equipment. Its world market share in optical components and systems is 40 percent, with half of that total produced in Germany.

Europe’s share of the image processing and measurement technology market is 35 percent, with more than half of that also produced by Germany. Nearly 30 percent of products for the medical technology and life sciences market are produced by Europe, and, again, more than half of that total is from Germany.

The German photonics sector, which represents about 8 percent of the world market, grew at a rate slightly higher than the worldwide average — 7 percent — totaling about €27 billion (about $35 million) in 2011. And, as a result of strong exports, it also far outpaced the German GDP and the growth of Germany’s industrial production, the report states.

Germany also increased its world market share since 2005, ranging from 10 to 16 percent in technology areas such as production (laser systems, beam sources and lithography systems), image processing and measurement, optical components and systems, medicine and life sciences.

The German photonics industry created about 30,000 jobs between 2005 and 2011 — to 134,000 employees in 2011 — and is expected to rise to about 165,000 workers by 2020.

For more information, or to download the report in German, visit: http://photonik.vdma.org


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