Our new forecast for the fiber laser and industrial laser market is now out. It should be no surprise that 2009 isn't going to be pretty. We now expect the industrial laser market to end up 32% below 2008, if sales continue to follow their current levels. This puts that market at $1.7 billion, about the level of 2004. Fiber laser suppliers will see a shallower decline of 24% to $230 million, and will experience a faster recovery than other types of lasers. But if the recession deepens or if suppliers engage in a desperate price war, 2009 sales will fall further.
In other words, the days of a nearly unbroken string of growth for both fiber lasers and industrial lasers is over. For the next several years the business will be much more cyclic, like the capital equipment market that it is. We still expect the envelope of the laser market to expand over time, but the swings of the cycles will be much more apparent.
By the way, this forecast only reports on industrial lasers that could be available to fiber lasers. It excludes most diode lasers, and also big excimer lasers for lithography. So, it's best to compare the numbers only to our previous reports.
In fact, if you have questions, send me an email (email@example.com) and I'll try to explain how we came up with the numbers.