Fiber lasers are doing well, under the circumstances. Our estimate for fiber lasers came out a little higher than many people expected, including us. We recorded a decline of only 5% overall, to $280 million. IPG took a big hit in 2009, returning to its 2007 level. This is because it is strong in kilowatt fiber lasers. (Other kilowatt laser companies were hit even worse, like Rofin-Sinar and TRUMPF, for the same reason.)
But there are several smaller fiber laser suppliers that are selling into various applications from Europe to China. Two very promising sectors are medical systems and military projects. True, one could exclude some of those military projects from a count of the market, but it shows up as revenue to companies so we include them.
No shopping sprees. Another surprise is that, so far, there haven't been as many acquisitions as one might expect. This is partly due to the tight credit and the uncertainty that weighed on the market last year. There has been consolidation of other kinds, just not the kind of shopping spree that sometimes accompanies downturns.
More coverage. This year, we extended the coverage of the laser market report to include every major market, beyond fiber lasers, beyond even industrial lasers. It now has everything that the annual Laser Focus survey covers, but with the most updated data, forecasts to 2014, and 300 pages of detail not provided in the January issue of the magazine or the January seminar. (Disclaimer: our numbers also continue to differ in some key places from the LFW numbers due to differences in segmentation.)