Skip to content

Photonics is thriving globally – New Photonics21 survey released

New research shows European photonics is growing at more than double the rate of global GDP – outperforming EU GDP and EU industrial production by three and five times, respectively.

Photonics – the technology and science of light – is one of the most resilient and fast-growing industries in Europe, outperforming many other market segments according to the new ‘Market Research Study – Photonics 2020‘ by deep technology research group Tematys. Key to several mega markets – including Industry 4.0, Digitisation, Quantum, AI, IoT – European photonics have enabled many market segments and applications to flourish ranging from Space, Healthcare, Environment, and Defence to Security Telecoms.

The global photonics industry addresses major challenges and
concerns for the future

Besides Components and Materials, the major application segments are
Photonics for Consumers IT, Medicine & Biology, Environment, Lighting
& Energy, and Industry 4.0 showing that photonics is participating directly
in the challenges for the future such as Digitalisation of production and
society, Health and wellbeing, Sustainable development and Environment.
Other main segments (Mobility, Defence & Security, Food and Agriculture)
address major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere.

EU photonics growth is 3 times the growth of EU GDP and almost
5 times of the whole EU industry

For the period 2015–2019, the growth of the European photonics industry
in terms of revenues (7% per year) is 3 times the growth of the EU GDP
(2.3%/year) and almost 5 times the growth of the European industrial
production (1.5%/year). It is also growing faster than many other high-tech
industries (for example, the IT industry: 4.5%, Medtech: 4.9%, Microelectronics: 4%). The European photonics industry is therefore a sector with remarkable dynamism.

EU photonics employment growth is twice that of the entire European Industry

From 2015–2019, the European photonics industry created over 30,000 jobs, reaching a total of 390,000 employees – an annual growth rate of 2.1%. This growth is much higher than that of employment in European Manufacturing as the whole (about 1% CAGR for EU28). This difference in growth of European photonics in terms of revenue and employment is due to its significant productivity gains. European photonics is currently seeing the transformation of its manufacturing processes with significant impact on jobs and skills. The growth of European photonics employment is, however, not without recruitment problems, particularly among SMEs.

Four important segments together represent two-thirds of the
European photonics industry

  • The largest segment in Europe, worth €19.2 billion is Photonics Systems for Industry i.e. industrial laser systems, semiconductors manufacturing and machine vision. Global market share more than 40%.

    Three further segments account for a significant production volume and at the same time a substantial global market share well above average.
  • Photonic component and materials, worth €16.6 billion in 2019. This segment is important providing the building blocks used for all the photonics systems.
  • Photonics devices and systems for Healthcare and wellness, worth €15.9 billion – Global market share of 26% in 2019.
  • Photonics systems for environment, lighting and energy, worth €16.7 billion in 2019. – Global market share in lighting 25% and environment monitoring 30%.

    Europe is also very well positioned in Optical instrumentation and photonics for space – Global market share over 30%.

Research and innovation are key to maintaining the competitiveness
of European photonics

Although lagging in the two biggest photonic markets (displays and PV),
the European share has been maintained, stressing the huge dynamism of
other photonics segments in Europe especially those described above.
Photonics is an important key enabler for many applications. Serving those
application markets requires constant innovation and being at the forefront
of technology. Thanks to a strong research capacity, European companies
can maintain and expand their businesses and catch their share of this
fast-growing market. If the same level of innovation is preserved, the European photonics industry will maintain or even increase its global market share.

Read more Here.