The impact of the economic recession has been diverse and disproportionate, among industries across the globe, with some smarting from the heat and dust raised by the economic turmoil, while others crumbled under the pressure.
The unusually pronounced length and depth of the current recession has had even high-end disruptive technologies like nanotechnology succumbing to the economic pressure making the industry no longer a safe haven. The reverberating impact of the recession across the nanotechnology value chain is undeniable. Economic and financial hardships imposed by the downturn have tripped up sales of nano-enabled products thus sending knock-on effects up the supply chain to the nanomaterials market.
A mixed bag of blessings and challenges for nanomaterials was largely witnessed with end-use industries like healthcare withstanding the pressure, while application areas in industries like construction and automotive flattened out. Steep declines in construction activity, reduced new housing starts and fall in sales of new automobiles have brought out the construction and automotive industries as the two major causalities of the recession. Decline in demand for nano-enabled products in the automotive industry, such as, nano-enabled automotive lubricants, catalytic converters, sensors and filters, among others, frustrated market opportunities for nanomaterials used in this application area, such as multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) and ceramic nanoparticles. Additionally, culling of disruptive product development projects involving nanotechnology by companies battered by financial hardships and reduced budgets for R&D, lengthens the technology adoption cycle, thus impacting demand for nano-materials, such as, ceramic nanomaterials, which are often core for various functional applications.
However, a relatively stronger healthcare end-use market has helped nanomaterials successfully ride out this worst-ever downturn without recording hurting erosions in market value, although the erosion in growth momentum has been unsettling. In the electronics industry, interestingly, the recession induced cost/price sensitivity has resulted in manufacturers, especially in the semiconductor industry, looking at nanomaterials with more than a passing interest, given its potential to reduce manufacturing costs and increase product competitiveness in the marketplace. Another factor fingered to have helped prop up growth patterns despite ailing commercial investments as a result of risk-averse venture capitalists shying away from risky investments, is the government support in funding and promoting nanotechnology projects. Government funding for emerging technologies such as nanotechnology are often set over longer timescales, typically between 3-6 years, thereby making it lesser vulnerable to economic pressures.
With the recession now at its tail’s end, growth in nanomaterials market in the medium-to-long term period will be driven by robust demand outlook within healthcare and electronics industry segments and emerging application areas such as military and aerospace, and energy sectors. The demand for nanomaterials in the electronics industry will be primarily driven by the need to enhance speed and performance of semiconductors and electronics. The need to improve safety in military and aerospace applications and the desire to increase efficiency of renewable energy devices will drive increased adoption of nanomaterials in the defense and energy sectors, respectively. In the construction end-use sector, nanomaterials flaunt the potential to make a huge impact, given the massive addressable market and the sheer magnitude of possible applications, such as, its use in manufacturing durable steel, and concrete, dirt repellent, self-cleaning windows, fire-resistant building materials, energy efficient solar panels, among others.
As stated by the new market research report, the US represents the largest regional market. Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing regional market displaying an impressive CAGR of about 30% over the analysis period. The active participation of Government in R&D funding for nanotechnology in countries such as China, South Korea, Taiwan and India is expected to drive growth in the nanomaterials market in Asia-Pacific over the next few years. By product, nanomaterial oxides market represents the largest segment. Carbon Nanotubes market in Western Europe is projected to reach US$43.1 million by the year 2012.
Major players in the marketplace include Advanced Nano Products Co. Limited, Antaria Limited, Apex Nanomaterials, ApNano Materials Inc., Cabot Corporation, Catalytic Materials LLC, Dendritic Nanotechnologies Inc., eSpin Technologies Inc., Hanwha Nanotech Corporation, InMat Inc., Hyperion Catalysis International Inc., Integran Technologies Inc., MicrotechNano Inc., Materials and Electrochemical Research Corporation, Nanoledge, NovaCentrix Corp., Nanophase Technologies Corp., Nyacol Nano Technologies Inc., Oxonica Plc., QuantumSphere Inc., Rosseter Holdings Ltd., Shenzhen Nanotech Port Co. Ltd., Sun Nanotech Company Limited, Unidym Inc. and Xintek Inc.
The research report titled “Nanomaterials: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, challenges, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections in (US$) for geographic markets, such as, United States, Japan, Western Europe (France, Germany, UK and Rest of Western Europe), Asia-Pacific (China and Rest of Asia-Pacific) and Rest of World. Product segments analyzed include Oxides, Metals, Nanotubes, Clays and Others. The report also provides market estimates and projections for nanomaterials by end-use sectors, such as, Electronics, Healthcare, and Construction, among others.