Anti-reflective coatings market comprises optical thin film coatings that reduce reflections from a variety of surfaces. Anti-reflective coatings increase transmission by reducing loss of light through reflectance. Many substrates such as silicon, glass, quarts, sapphire, and many others, are applied anti-reflective coatings for purposes such as improving image quality in glasses, camera lenses, or increasing the amount of light absorbed in solar panels.
At the point where glass meets air, nearly 4% of light falling upon the glass at perpendicular angle is lost due to reflection. The percentage of light lost in such cases keeps increasing with increase in light’s angle of incidence. For solar panels, especially, light reflected is light wasted. Application of anti-reflective coatings on solar panel glasses helps in minimizing reflection of light, and thus in delivering better light transmission. Many applications in industries such as electronics, solar power generation, eyewear, automobiles, and telecommunications also widely use anti-reflective coatings. The US$2.9 billion plus market of anti-reflective coatings has great potential for expansion in new application areas in the future.
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Analysts state that the global market of anti-reflective coatings will grow at a CAGR of nearly 8.2% in the next 4-5 years, and assume net worth of nearly US$4.97 billion by 2020. Across the globe, nearly 338 kilo tons of anti-reflective coatings’ substances were consumed in 2013. These figures are set to cross 500 kilo tons mark by 2020.
What is driving the anti-reflective coatings market?
Anti-reflective coatings are applied on a wide variety of commonly used products such as eyeglasses, touch screens in electronic devices, flat panel displays, and smartphone displays. Applications of these films are also found in video glasses, telescopes, kiosk displays, binocular lenses, and riflescopes. Ripe demands from these mature application areas are the chief factors why the global anti-reflective coatings market is progressing at a steady pace. However, the market is expected to benefit mostly from rising demands from solar power generation and telecommunications’ industries.
The eyewear industry is also a major end-user of the anti-reflective coatings’ market, and poses demands for high light transmitting and comfortable lenses and eyeglasses. In 2013, demands from this industry contributed nearly 40% share of anti-reflective films sold in the overall market. The only major issues surrounding the market, and limiting its growth to a good extent include, environmental issues related with raw materials, usability issues and poor consumer awareness about the huge benefits of anti-reflective coatings.
Anti-reflective coatings market: Important Segments
Other than eyewear and solar power generation, the electronics industry is another major end-user segment of the market. Analysts state that the second largest demands for anti-reflective coatings in 2013 were posed by the electronics industry. The highly robust smartphone industry, rising demands for flat panel displays and use of anti-reflective films during photolithography during fabrication of semiconductors make the electronics industry an important end-user of the market.
Dashboards and high transmitting windows in automobiles are also important demand generators of anti-reflective coatings. The telecommunication and healthcare industries could also present potential growth opportunities for the market in the near future.
From a geographic standpoint, the regional anti-reflective coatings market of North America assumed nearly 35% market shares in 2013. Dominance of this market segment is expected to continue in the near future as well due to rising demands for anti-reflective coatings from eyeglasses and flat panel displays. At the same time, the Asia-Pacific anti-reflective coatings market is expected to grow at the fastest pace while the European market is expected to exhibit sluggish growth, especially from the eyewear industry.
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