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Thermal Imaging Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Handheld and Fixed/Mounted), By Technology (Cooled, Uncooled), By Product (Thermal Camera, Thermal Scopes, Thermal Module), By Wavelength (Shortwave Infrared (SWIR), Mid-wave Infrared (MWIR)), By Application (Border Surveillance, Vehicle Targeting, C-UAS), By Vertical (Aerospace and Defense, Law Enforcement, Healthcare, Automotive), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Last Updated: July 01, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102588



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The global thermal imaging market size was USD 2.27 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 4.10 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.7% during the forecast period. North America dominated the thermal imaging market with a market share of 31.8% in 2019.


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The growth of the market is primarily driven by the rising demand for advanced thermal imaging solutions in end-use verticals such as military and defense, manufacturing, and healthcare & life science. In addition to this, the increasing penetration of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and growing demand for wireless temperature sensors are expected to boost the growth of the market during the forecast period.


Adoption of Advanced Solutions to Create Several Growth Opportunities Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The world confronts a severe and acute public health crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of imaging solutions are playing a crucial role in detecting elevated body temperatures for coronavirus identification. Companies are also leveraging AI-enabled platforms such as IoT, digital twin, smart robots, and others to monitor real-time production at the manufacturing plants. This significantly reduces the need for employees and workers onsite, thereby supporting the social distancing mandates to fight COVID-19.

With a stringent social distancing standard being executed worldwide, the demand for these solutions will gain eminence at public places such as railways, airports, supermarkets, and stadiums, to trace patients. For instance, in May 2020, Germany-based DERMALOG Identification Systems GmbH deployed its thermal imaging technology-based fever detection cameras at Scandinavian Park, a large shopping mall near the Germany/Denmark border.


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Thermal Camera is Widely Used to Measure Body Temperature to Help Control the Spread of Disease

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a massive demand for thermal imaging solutions from various industries such as healthcare, life science, transportation, and others. Several businesses and facilities are implementing temperature screening systems at their spaces to reduce the spread of disease. The Chinese police are using thermal cameras and goggles to identify pedestrians with high temperatures. Even Dubai police are using AI-based thermal smart helmets to scan and identify people with high body temperature. As several countries begin to ease COVID-19 lockdown, businesses are looking towards products as a fever screening tool to keep staff and customers safe from viruses.

  • For example, in April 2020, the e-commerce giant Amazon has installed thermal cameras equipped with this technology in six U.S. facilities situated in Seattle and Los Angeles to screen employee’s health.


Proliferation of Thermal Cameras for Border Surveillance Management to Propel the Market Growth

The growth of the market is attributable to the rising adoption of advanced thermal imaging cameras in the military and defense industry to cater to the demand for combat operations and night patrolling. These cameras can identify targets at extremely long range even during poor weather conditions. In border surveillance, equipment such as binoculars, monocular, military vehicles are used for perimeter surveillance and remotely-operated turrets.

  • For instance, in March 2020, FLIR Systems, Inc. launched a high-definition midrange surveillance system called “Ranger HDC MR” to detect illegal activities even in degraded weather conditions.


Export Restrictions Imposed on these Products to Limit the Market Growth

Thermal imaging products always had an export sensitivity issue. Exporting thermal and infrared cameras to certain countries are restricted by the U.S Government and these export restrictions come under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Some cameras fall under specific Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) codes which are governed by the Bureau of Industry and Security, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The manufacturing companies need to follow all the rules and regulations imposed by the government otherwise, they need to pay a huge penalty.

  • For instance, in May 2018, FLIR Systems Inc., the infrared and these imaging systems manufacturer, was accused of violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA). The company was hit with USD 30 million civil penalties for this major deemed export compliance case.

This might slow the adoption of these devices such as thermal cameras and scopes in the market.


By Type Analysis

Handheld Segment is Anticipated to Exhibit a Higher Growth Rate in the Coming Years

Based on the device type, the market is segmented into handheld and fixed/mounted. The handheld sub-segment is further categorized into thermal weapon sights, handheld surveillance sights, and others.

The handheld segment is projected to be the fastest-growing segment owing to its portability and ease of use characteristics. The growth is attributable to the integration of thermal imaging tools in smartphones.

The fixed/mounted segment holds the largest market share. The growth is owing to the rising demand for fixed CCTVs cameras for surveillance and security purposes. Fixed/mounted device position eliminates the need for a person to scan and detect the object or living creatures.

By Technology Analysis

Uncooled Segment is Expected to Grow Significantly in the Forecast Period

Based on the technology, the market is further segregated into cooled and uncooled.

The cooled segment captures the maximum thermal imaging market share as cooled devices can detect the smaller temperature variations owing to its highly sensitive nature.

The uncooled segment exhibited a high growth rate during the forecast period. Uncooled thermal devices are much less expensive than their counterparts and can be manufactured in fewer steps with higher yields. These types of devices are mostly suited for applications where the monitoring area is under 4-5 km of range.

By Product Analysis

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Thermal Camera Segment to Apprehend Largest Market Share

Based on the product, the market is divided into the thermal camera, thermal scopes, and thermal module.

The thermal camera held the highest market share during the forecast period. The growth is attributable to the rising adoption of thermal cameras in commercial and residential sectors.

The thermal scopes segment is estimated to show the highest CAGR during the forecast period. The growth is owing to the increasing demand for the thermal scopes from the military and defense sectors. The thermal modules segment holds a significant share in the market owing to their low weight, small size, and low power consumption features.

By Wavelength Analysis

Mid-wave Infrared (MWIR) Segment to Exhibit the Highest CAGR

Based on the wavelength, the market is segmented into the shortwave infrared (SWIR), mid-wave infrared (MWIR), and longwave infrared (LWIR).

The mid-wave infrared (MWIR) is projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the coming years. The growth is attributable to its ability to operate efficiently in harsh environments such as aerosol, smoke, or fog.

The Longwave infrared (LWIR) segment holds the highest market share. The growth is attributable to technological advancement and growing adoption of LWIR cameras in security and surveillance applications. Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) devices pose limited benefits compared to MWIR and LWIR.

By Application Analysis

Adoption of Thermal Cameras for C-UAS Purposes to Surge

Based on application, the market is categorized into border surveillance, vehicle targeting, C-UAS, maritime & coastal surveillance, critical infrastructure, and others.

The border surveillance segment holds the largest share in the market. The growth is owing to the increasing demand for these devices and rising government spending in the military and defense sectors.

  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Military Expenditure Database, in 2019, the global military expenditure is estimated at around USD 1,917 billion, 3.6% higher than in 2018.

The counter- unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) is expected to be the fastest-growing segment in the coming years. The rising demand for thermal scopes, modules, cameras, and others for vehicle targeting, critical infrastructure will aid the growth of the market.

By Vertical Analysis

Aerospace and Defense Segment to Account for Maximum Share

By vertical, the global market has been categorized into aerospace and defense, law enforcement, healthcare, automotive, oil and gas, residential, manufacturing, and others.

The aerospace and defense segment holds the maximum share in the market as this type of imaging technique is a cost-effective alternative of lighting systems that are installed to safeguard borders. The thermal devices are used in armored vehicles, weapon stations to provide situational awareness to the military personnel.

The law enforcement segment is expected to exhibit the highest CAGR in the coming years. Thermal imaging devices help law enforcement officers to effectively manage operations, investigate crime scenes and trace and apprehend suspects. Thermal imaging cameras are also used by maritime law enforcement officers for coastal security, harbor navigation, and search and rescue operations. In addition, the increasing adoption of these devices in healthcare, automotive, oil and gas, residential, manufacturing, and other verticals is expected to fuel the growth of the market.


North America Thermal Imaging Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)

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Geographically, the market is segmented across five major regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, and Latin America.

North America is expected to dominate the market in terms of share during the forecast period. This growth is attributable to the presence of a considerable number of device manufacturers and providers. The growing investment by the government in the military and defense sector has also contributed to the growth of the market.

  • For instance, in 2019, military investment in the US was accounted for around USD 732 billion, which grew by 5.3% from last year. The US accounted for around 38% of global military spending in 2019.

Asia Pacific is expected to hold a strong position in the coming years. The growth is ascribable to the rising military expenditures to upgrade their military weapons will drive the market. Currently, China is the second-largest country with high spending on its military across the world.

  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2019, Southeast Asia invested around USD 34.5 billion on the military, and defense sector which increased by around 4.2% from 2018.

Europe is expected to hold a significant share in the global market during the forecast period. The rising use of the product in security and surveillance applications is expected to boost the demand in Europe. The Middle East & Africa (MEA) and Latin America regions are expected to experience a gradual CAGR during the prediction period. This growth is owing to the increasing defense budget and rising investments by the government to adopt advanced solutions.


Emphasis of Key Players towards Developing Innovative Thermal Imaging Solutions to Strengthen Competition

Major players such as BAE System, Plc., Thales Group, Leonardo, S.p.A, and FLIR Systems, Inc. are strengthening their market position by launching new product lines to cater to the military applications. FLIR Systems, Inc. offers safety and security solutions such as advanced intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, thermal imaging and other sensing technologies. The company’s industrial business unit manufactures and develops thermal imaging devices and components.


  • BAE System Plc (Farnborough, United Kingdom)

  • Leonardo S.p.A. (Rome, Italy)

  • Thales Group (La Défense, France)

  • FLIR Systems, Inc. (Oregon, United States)

  • American Technologies Network Corporation (California, United States)

  • Fluke Corporation (Washington, United States)

  • Thermoteknix Systems Ltd. (Cambridge, United Kingdom)

  • Seek Thermal, Inc. (California, United States)

  • Cantronic Systems, Inc. (British Columbia, Canada)  

  • Excelitas Technologies Corp. (Waltham, Massachusetts, United States)

  • Opgal Optronic Industries Ltd. (Israel)

  • Dali Technology Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang, China)


  • February 2020: - FLIR Systems, Inc. launched FLIR A8580 series of thermal cameras designed for military, science, industrial, and product research and development (R&D) applications. This solution records blur-free views of high-speed objectives, provides a broad variety of accuracy, manual and motorized lenses, and works effortlessly with the new FLIR thermal analysis software.

  • September 2019: - Thermoteknix Systems Ltd. launched ClipIR XD, a clip-on thermal imager with extended performance and built-in external video input and Digital Magnetic Compass (DMC). ClipIR XD is a clip that can be used on thermal imaging solutions to mount external video input and Digital Magnetic Compass (DMC).


An Infographic Representation of Thermal Imaging Market

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The thermal imaging market research report provides a detailed industry analysis and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the key market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the key growth of the advanced market over the recent years.




Study Period

  2016 – 2027

Base Year


Forecast Period

  2020 – 2027

Historical Period

  2016 – 2018


  Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Handheld

    • Thermal weapon sights

    • Handheld surveillance sights

    • Others

  • Fixed/Mounted

By Technology

  • Cooled

  • Uncooled

By Product

  • Thermal Camera

  • Thermal Scopes

  • Thermal Module

By Wavelength

  • Shortwave Infrared (SWIR)

  • Mid-wave Infrared (MWIR)

  • Longwave Infrared (LWIR)

By Application

  • Border Surveillance

  • Vehicle Targeting

  • C-UAS

  • Maritime & Coastal Surveillance

  • Critical Infrastructure

  • Others (Thermal Imaging in Machineries, Medical, and Firefighting, etc.)

By Vertical

  • Aerospace and Defense

  • Law Enforcement

  • Healthcare

  • Automotive

  • Oil and Gas

  • Residential

  • Manufacturing

  • Others (Utility, Chemical, etc.)

By Region

  • North America (U.S. and Canada)

  • Europe (UK, Germany, France, Russia, Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • Middle East & Africa (South Africa, GCC and Rest of Middle East & Africa)

  • Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America)

Frequently Asked Questions

As per Fortune Business Insights, the global thermal imaging market was worth USD 2.27 billion in 2019

By 2027, the market size is expected to reach USD 4.10 billion.

The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.7% in the forecast period (2020-2027).

Within type, the handheld segment is expected to lead the market during the forecast period.

The proliferation of thermal cameras for border surveillance management is one of the key drivers for market growth

FLIR Systems, Inc., Thales Group, BAE Systems, Fluke Corporation, Leonardo S.p.A and Opgal are the top companies in the market.

The border surveillance application segment holds the major market share.

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