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The global thin film material market size was valued at USD 12.45 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 12.91 billion in 2022 to USD 17.46 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with thin-film material experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of -2.4% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Thin film is coated through Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) using multiple materials including Cu, Al, Fe, and a few high-tech materials such as CIGS, CdTe, and a-Si. It is used in optical coatings, photovoltaic solar cells, and other applications due to its high electrical conduction. For instance, a-Si or amorphous silicon is used to coat the n-type or p-type silicon layer. Most PV solar cells are manufactured through the single crystal system.
The growth of the material is associated with advancements in technology as these deposition materials enhance the chemical characteristics, which make them suitable for end-use industries.
Decreased Demand from End-use Industries Caused Supply Chain Disruption
The outbreak of COVID-19 in China has impacted all countries in the world. The manufacturers faced irregular demand as countries imposed lockdowns on the movement of transportation. This resulted in shortage of raw materials and labor, which further led to the interruption in manufacturing operations. Additionally, the demand from the end-use industries was negligible as the governments allowed only consumer goods industries to be operational during pandemic.
However, the demand for thin films was not extraordinary during COVID-19 but the market returned to the pre-pandemic level. The recovery of the electrical and electronics industry has boosted product demand. Therefore, the manufacturers are now operating with the total installed capacity.
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Growing Demand for Thin Film Materials in Nanotechnologies to Become a Prominent Trend
The use of thin film material in nanotechnology is the latest emerging trend in the market. This technique involves coating with nanocomposite materials to improve the mechanical properties of the product. These nanomaterials are coated by magnetron sputtering, which offers enhanced oxidation resistance, low thermal conductivity, and high adherence properties.
Advancement in technology is leading to decreased weight, smaller size, and improved lifespan; and new features of electrical and electronic devices are the emerging trends in the market. Thin films are often used in applications to improve the electrical, optical, and chemical properties of electronic devices.
Additionally, the introduction of new thin film materials, with relevant mechanical properties has also emerged as a trend in the market. These new materials may boost the deposition process that plays the dominant role in the film density, morphology, and strength. Therefore, the new material and its composition influence the emerging trend of the market.
Rising Demand for Photovoltaic Solar Cells to Drive Growth of the Market
The thin film material market growth is associated with increased demand for photovoltaic solar cells as it offers various improved specifications than a traditional solar panel. For instance, with advanced characteristics, these thin films can be over 300 times smaller than silicon solar panels and enable the lightest weight panel available. Moreover, governments in many countries are focusing on the renewable energy sector due to the rising awareness regarding greenhouse gases and environmental sustainability.
These materials are gaining preference in solar PV cell production on the basis of their electrical and optical properties in order to make them more efficient. For instance, NICE Solar Energy GmbH reported that they set a world record for the CIGS thin film solar module by achieving a conversion efficiency rate of 17.5%. This combination may result in the increased adoption of thin film in the production of the PV solar cell module, which is expected to drive the market.
Additionally, 5G mobile communications are the next step forward in communication technology, and it is expected to boost the usage of semiconductors to achieve higher power consumption. The use of the thin film coating addresses several challenges in the semiconductor design, including prolonged use, water resistance, and withstanding constant connectivity, thereby driving the market growth.
Low-efficiency of the Material May Hamper Market Growth
Thin film material exists in various types but their efficiency lies between 7%-15% as compared to the other materials such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Decreased efficiency of the thin film is anticipated to hinder the market growth. The cost of these materials differs according to their shape, size, and end-use Industries. Moreover, electrical & electronics device producers use their own thin film materials as any metal can be deposited by the physical vapor deposition and chemical process which hinders the growth of a few specific materials such as CdTe, CIGS, a-Si, and others that are majorly utilized.
Thus, the low efficiency of the thin film material and the use of individual materials by the end-use industries in the production of thin film are anticipated to hinder the market growth.
a-Si Segment to Lead due to its Increasing Use in Various End-use Industries
By type, the market is segmented into CdTe, CIGS, and a-Si. The a-Si segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecast period.
Amorphous silicon or a-Si is the commonly used material in the manufacturing of semiconductors and computer chips. Silicon is known for its random structure, which provides anomalous electrical behavior. a-Si material is widely used in various end-use industries. Thus, photovoltaic solar cells made of amorphous silicon or a-Si have better tendency to convert light into electricity. These PV cells are made of one or more supporting materials by using the deposition method. Additionally, the a-Si material has better absorption capacity along with high electrical conductivity, which makes it suitable for end-use industries. The growth of the segment is associated with the increasing use of the material in PV solar cells.
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Photovoltaic Solar Cells Segment to Gain Momentum Due to Increasing Applications from Various End-use Industries
Based on the end-use industry, the market is divided into photovoltaic solar cells, electrical & electronics, optical coating, and others.
The growth of the photovoltaic solar cells segment is associated with increasing demand for an alternative to traditional electricity production. The off-grid areas have limited electricity connectivity and such areas are highly dependent on secondary sources such as solar energy. Additionally, investments in solar energy have increased over the past years. The governments of different countries are encouraging consumers to use PV solar cells to maintain the decorum of a green environment.
Recently, the global population has passed 8 billion. Countries, such as China and India, have the highest population in the world. Thus, the consumption of electricity is high in these countries. This puts pressure on the electricity service providers. To fulfill consumer needs, few service providers are providing the facility of solar cell-based energy, thereby propelling the product demand across the world.
North America Thin Film Material Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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North America is expected to hold the largest thin film material market share during the forecast period. The market growth in North America is associated with technological advancement in the electrical and electronics industries. Additionally, the number of photovoltaic solar cells manufacturers is high in the region, which led to the high consumption of thin films l in the region.
The growth of the market is associated with high disposable income and rapid growth in economies of Asia Pacific. China and India are the fastest economies in the region. Additionally, both the countries have the largest population in the world, thereby propelling the high demand for consumer goods, electronics appliances, and others. Moreover, Japan is a technologically advanced country. Thus, the product consumption is high in the country. On the other hand, countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand, are the emerging consumers of thin film material.
Additionally, it is expected that the electronics industry will grow at a high CAGR across the world. The market for electronics producers in the U.S. accounts for nearly 15-20% due to the U.S. and China trade war that actively triggered various manufacturers to revise their supply chains. This resulted in the increased demand for raw materials in electronics production over the past years. The growing demand for PV solar cells is expected to drive the market.
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The market in Europe is associated with high demand for smart workplaces that include the latest electronic gadgets such as smart TVs, smart air conditioners, and smart homes. Thus, the high consumption of electronic products led to rapid increase in the electronics industry, which further surges the product demand in the region.
Key Players are Adopting Strategies to Maintain their Position in the Market
The foremost global producers include Ferroperm Optics A/S, Vital Materials Co., Limited, Kyoto Thin-Film Materials Institute, GEOMATEC CO., LTD., Ascent Solar Technologies, Cicor Group, Umicore, Indium Corporation, Hanergy, JX Nippon Mining & Metals, and others. These players are adopting new business strategies to establish their market presence and maximize revenue.
On the other hand, Umicore Indium Corporation has a significant presence in Europe. The company has manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The company is one of the biggest producers of thin film materials in Europe. Similarly, other players have established competition with international and regional players with extensive distribution networks and suppliers.
An Infographic Representation of Thin Film Material Market
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The research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, products, and end-use industries. Also, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors contributing to the market's growth in recent years.
This report includes historical data & forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and analyzes the industry's latest market dynamics and opportunities.
Value (USD Million)
By Type, End-use Industry, and Region
By End-use Industry
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 12.45 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 17.46 billion by 2029.
Growing at a CAGR of 4.4%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2022-2029).
The optical coating segment is expected to be the leading segment in the market during the forecast period.
The growing product penetration in the electronics industry will aid market growth.
Vital Materials Co., Limited, Umicore, Indium Corporation, JX Nippon Mining & Metals, Kyoto Thin-Film Materials Institute, and Hanergy are major players in the global market.
North America accounts for the largest market share in 2021.
Superior properties of thin film material and its rising demand from electronics industry are expected to drive the adoption of the product.
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