Electronics Production | December 11, 2007

$26.2 Bn Disposable Electronics Market 2015

According to a new a report from NanoMarkets LC, an industry analyst firm, disposable electronics will represent a market of $26.2 billion market by 2015.
New manufacturing technologies, such as functional printing, and new materials, such as organic semiconductors, are enabling sophisticated electronic devices to be embedded in everyday objects such as packaging, credit cards, pricing labels, games and toys, clothing and low-end medical products. These enhancements will produce electronic intelligence, increased revenue opportunities, lower costs and broader functionality never seen before in products formerly considered as disposable items.

Inexpensive printed RFID tags will generate revenues of $12.4 billion by 2015 and will partially replace barcodes, endowing packaging and numerous low-cost products with high-levels of intelligence. RFID is an opportunity measured in billions of units and promises a retail management revolution with impact ranging from improved inventory tracking to enhanced brand management.

E-paper technology will be a genuine alternative to paper in environments where updateability is crucial. For example, by 2015 NanoMarkets projects that paper pricing labels will see significant replacement by e-paper point-of-purchase (POP) displays, with $1.6 billion in e-paper displays sold for POP applications in 2015. Other areas of disposable electronics where e-paper displays are expected to make a significant impact are in smartcards (especially for one-time security pass codes) and smart packaging.

Organic transistors and memories will create new classes of products ranging from multifunction smartcards to pharmaceutical packaging and will also breathe new life into the games, toys and greetings cards business. Technologies now exist to print electronics that enable games, toys and other novelties to interface directly with the Internet thus expanding the boundaries of the gaming business. By 2015, the value of "games, gadgets and gizmos" using printed or organic electronics will be $1.2 billion.

The new disposable electronics will also represent a huge opportunity for materials suppliers, who will supply more than $17.5 billion in materials into the disposable electronics sector in 2015. There will be a strong demand for inexpensive conductive inks and these will be far less demanding in terms of performance than those required for larger displays, solar panels, etc.

Paper substrates will be of especial interest because of the work that has been going on at both universities and in commercial firms to create electronics on coated papers or even corrugated cardboard. This work will lead paper and board substrates for disposable electronics to reach sales of $1.8 billion by 2015.


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