Photonics drives innovation

In both Germany and internationally, photonics drives innovation. In a fiercely competitive environment, this field of technology is associated with a highly dynamic evolution and a global market volume that is expected to reach about EUR 615 billion by the year 2020. In the period under review, this would equate to an average annual growth one-and-a-half times that expected for the global gross domestic product (GDP).

In spite of the weaker growth over the last two years, primarily as a reflex reaction to the exogenous shock of the preceding global financial crisis, experts on the sector see good prospects of long-term growth for the German photonics industry. In 2012, this turnover had grown by three per cent to about EUR 28 billion. In the course of 2013, the prospects have brightened considerably, especially on the investment goods sector, and the photonics industry has embarked into the new year with confident expectations. The growth rate for 2013 is likewise expected to be about three per cent, reflecting complete involvement in global trading.

For 2014, all economic indicators are pointing to a path that will lead back to the long-term growth trend. Also the target turnover of EUR 44 billion predicted by the sector last year will be reached by 2020.

Manufacturing technology and image processing power growth
The growth of the photonics industry in Germany has more than been boosted by the core fields aligned to manufacturing technology like laser machining, lithography, image processing, and measuring technology and instrumentation. These stout pillars of development have caused Germany’s share of the global market to grow to 20 per cent, considerably higher than the average eight per cent recorded over the whole technology field. This can be put down particularly to the high export ratio (last averaging 66 per cent), which is even higher in the said core segments with the promise of more to come.

At the same time, the drop in exports inside Europe could be more than offset in most cases by expanding exports to Asia, and an additional boost in American trading in 2012. The R&D percentage on the photonic high-tech sectors remains at a high level. At nine to ten per cent, it lies far higher than the processing industry’s average, estimated at about four per cent by the German Institute for Economic Research.

More information:
Branchenreport Photonik 2014 (Only available in German, PDF)

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