The fall Laser Focus World survey is done and the estimate for the laser market in 2010 comes out to...(drum roll please)...$6.4 billion. That's a 27% gain over our revised value for 2009, recovering almost to the value in 2008 and not far from the peak in 2007. The strongest gains were in materials processing and communications.
A more complete picture will be presented, along with other market perspectives, at the annual Laser Focus World Marketplace Seminar in San Francisco, the same week as Photonics West.
Nearly every sector saw gains over 2009. But how could they not, considering the first half of 2009 was the worst period of the recession.
Nonetheless, the gains exceeded expectations, especially in the sectors related to electronics manufacturing: semiconductor fab tools, solar cell fab tools, flat panel fab tools, and electronics assembly tools. Let's hear it for smart phones and HDTV! China was also a big factor, buying tools at a time when other regions were more cautious.
And then there is the jobless recovery. Many manufacturers have cash and even credit, but remain wary about the future. Some chose to invest in capital equipment instead of hiring workers. The capital equipment improves the productivity, so it helps in their labor costs too.
It's worth a mention in this blog that historical values were significantly revised in two key sectors: excimer lasers for lithography and diode lasers for optical storage drives. These sectors are not relevant to most followers of the laser market numbers, but restating them does change the overall totals.
For more information, come to the seminar, or buy the complete forecast and segmentation in our market report.