The printed electronics industry expects to see revenue growth in 2021 and 2022, according to the results of the latest biannual business climate survey conducted by OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association), an international industry association for organic and printed electronics and a Working Group within VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association).
“Our industry has proved to be resilient in the last year. The positive trend which we have seen at the beginning of this year has stabilized”, said Dr. Klaus Hecker, Managing Director of OE-A. Twice a year, OE-A members – from material suppliers to end users – are asked to provide qualitative data on the state of the industry and their expected sales development. These surveys shed light on the anticipated growth of the flexible, organic, and printed electronics industry.
Sales growth projected for 2021 and 2022
While the Covid-19 pandemic was a setback for the flexible and printed electronics industry in 2020, results of the survey show the sector has largely recovered this year. More than 80% of survey participants said they expect the printed electronics industry to grow in 2021. 2021 will show a 13% increase in sales revenue – up 2 percentage points on the 11% originally forecast in February.
Participants also see customer demand recovering, particularly in Europe and the US, although Asian market remain challenging in this respect. A continuation of this positive trend is anticipated in 2022 and business is likely to be “back to normal” by summer. The companies surveyed also said they expect a growth in revenue along the entire value chain of 14% in 2022.
“These good prospects are only clouded by the supply chain challenges. Lockdowns caused significant supply-side disruptions, even post Covid, companies will also be confronted with challenges in the global value chain. Especially the tense situation in the supply of chips, materials, and components for our major user industries, have prevented an even better forecast.”, added Hecker. “Among the most important user industries for printed electronics applications are top rated Consumer Electronics, Automotive and Medical & Pharmaceutical.”
Investment and R&D
The survey also found the employment situation to be encouraging with 77% if those asked saying they expect a stable employment situation, and 23% saying they plan to increase their staff. According to the survey, the situation with regard to investment is also very promising, with more than 85% of those surveyed planning to increase investment in production in the upcoming 6 months. Almost three quarters of the companies said they would increase R&D activities over the next six months. “I take these as very good signs for our industry. Continuous research work and investment in production will strengthen and foster our industry’s innovative power,” concluded Hecker.