Optical Film Market Overview
The optical film market size is forecast to reach US$33.6 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 7.2% during 2022-2027. Optical films are multi-layered films that are used for a wide range of functionalities such as anti-reflection, anti-glaring, visual privacy, wide viewing angle, and increasing energy efficiency. The polarizing film, polyvinyl alcohol film, reflective film, indium tin oxide, among others, are some of the major types of optical film that find their high uses in numerous applications such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, photovoltaics, advertising display boards, etc. Television is one of the largest application markets for optical films where they are utilized to increase display contrast and readability, provide a wide viewing angle in brighter environments, and various other functionalities. The demand for televisions is on the rise with increasing production, sales, and shipments, and this is expected to contribute to the growth of the market during the forecast period. For instance, as per the data by the OLED Association, TV shipments in the third quarter of 2020 hit a record 62.05 million units, increasing 12.9% year on year. Furthermore, optical films are extensively used in smartphones for protecting the display from scratches and enhancing the durability of the touchscreen. The demand for smartphones has been ramping up since the arrival of the pandemic with people started spending more time at home. This increasing growth in smartphones is projected to drive the growth of the market in the forecast period. According to the stats by Ericsson, smartphone subscriptions are on the rise and this will reach USD 7 billion in 2027. The fluctuation in the prices of raw materials might hamper the market’s growth.
The market was deeply influenced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for optical films increased robustly during the pandemic with the rise in demand for several end-use applications such as televisions, smartphones, laptops, and tablets. The lockdown restrictions during the pandemic made people stay more at home which stimulated the higher need for electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and televisions, in turn driving the market’s growth. As per the 2021 third-quarter earnings report by Samsung SDI, sales of polarizers increased for large LCD TV. Going forward, the market is expected to witness robust growth owing to the rising demand for electronic products such as televisions, smartphones, and tablets.
Optical Film Market – By Product Type
The polarizing film dominated the optical film market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 7.7% during the forecast period. This is one of the highly used optical films in almost all electronic products and services. From televisions to photovoltaics and digital signage, the polarizing film finds its wide uses. This optical film is applied on the front of the display screen and offers excellent properties such as anti-reflection, increased display contrast, permits wide viewing angle, provides deeper looking colors, etc. Owing to such a diverse portfolio, the use of polarizing films in the market is increasing. For instance, in July 2020, Japan-based optical films and LCD producer Nitto Denko Corporation collaborated with Nippon Electric Glass for the development of an ultra-thin glass with the help of polarizing film. Such increasing use of the polarizing film is expected to bolster its demand in the market during the forecast period.
Optical Film Market – By Application
The television application segment dominated the optical film market in 2021 and is growing at a CAGR of 8.4% during the forecast period. Optical films demand has been greatly driven by television applications. A wide variety of optical films such as polarizing film and polyvinyl alcohol film are massively used in the television display where they offer several functionalities such as providing a brighter display, increased surface transmission and enabling wide viewing angle in brighter environments. The demand for television has been on the rise as people stayed at home, ultimately increasing the requirement for online entertainment. Such growing demand for television is expected to further drive the market’s growth during the forecast period. For instance, according to the May 2021 report by LG Display, the demand for TV panels surged with the increase in the sales of televisions during the pandemic. Similarly, as per the data by OLED Association, shipments of advanced TVs increased by 32% in the fourth quarter of 2020 year-on-year. Such massive growth in the television application is projected to augment the higher uses of optical films, in turn driving the market’s growth.
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Optical Film Market – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region held the largest market share in the optical film market, up to 34%. The high demand for the optical film is attributed to the expanding electronics market in the region. Optical films are used in the production of several electronic products such as laptops, televisions, tablets, and smartphones. These films offer multiple functioning in the electronic products such as better display contrast and readability, providing a wide viewing angle, and enhancing surface transmission. The demand for electronic products in the region is increasing with the growing need for advanced products among consumers and this is expected to catapult the demand for optical films in the forecast period. As per the May 2021 data by China.org.cn, Huawei became the second-largest manufacturer in the notebook segment in China in 2020 with a market share of 16.9%. Similarly, according to the stats by India Brand Equity Foundation, 5G smartphone shipments crossed 4 million units in 2020 due to the higher consumer demand post-lockdown. This massive growth in the demand for electronic products is projected to increase the demand for optical films in the region during the forecast period.
Optical Film Market Drivers
Increasing demand for smartphones will drive the market’s growth
Optical films are integral elements in the production of smartphones. A wide range of optical films is used in large quantities in the display screen to offer surface protection, anti-glaring, visual privacy, and several other functionalities. The demand for smartphones is increasing globally with increasing production and shipments and this is expected to augment the growth of the market during the forecast period. For instance, according to the stats by India Brand Equity Foundation, the smartphones sector is expected to witness high growth in 2022, and the shipment of smartphones will account for between 190-200 million units by 2022. Similarly, as per the October 2020 report by Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the sales of smartphones will surge in 2022 with 76% of all smartphones will have 5G capabilities. Such huge demand for smartphones is projected to stimulate the higher uses of optical films and in turn, will drive the growth of the optical film market during the forecast period.
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Rising demand for television will drive the market’s growth
Television is one of the largest application areas for optical films. From polarizing film to polyvinyl alcohol film, several optical films find their massive uses in the manufacturing of TV sets globally. These optical films are applied to the television display screen for providing better viewing angles, increased surface transmission, offering deeper-looking colors, and a lot of other functionalities. The demand for televisions is increasing globally with the work from culture and this is anticipated to drive the growth of the market. For instance, as per the 2021 fourth-quarter earnings report by Samsung SDI, sales of TVs and smartphones increased with increasing demand for polarizing material. Similarly, as per the data by OLED Association, TV shipments globally stood at 159 million units in the first nine months of 2020, increasing 1.1% from a year earlier. Such massive growth in the demand for televisions is projected to amplify the higher use of optical films, thereby contributing to the growth of the market during the forecast period.
Optical Film Market Challenges
Fluctuation in the prices of raw materials might hinder the market’s growth
The optical film market involves materials such as polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene terephthalate in the production of different optical films. These raw materials are petroleum-based whose prices are fluctuating due to the fluctuation in the price of petroleum and this might affect the market’s growth. As per the statistics by ourworldindata.org, the price of crude oil accounted for US$ 54.19 per barrel in 2017 which jumped to US$ 64.21 per barrel in 2019. In 2020, the oil price again went down to US$ 41.84 per barrel. This fluctuation in the crude oil price fluctuates the petroleum price, thereby fluctuating the prices of the raw materials in the market. Such fluctuation in the prices of raw materials might hinder the growth of the optical film market during the forecast period.
Optical Film Market Industry Outlook
Investment in R&D activities, acquisitions, product and technology launches are key strategies adopted by players in the optical film market. Major players in the optical film market are:
- LG Chem Ltd.
- Samsung SDI
- Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
- Nitto Denko Corporation
- Zeon Corporation
- BenQ Materials Corp
- 3M Company
- American Polarizers Inc and More.
- In July 2019, Sumitomo Chemical acquired SANRITZ Co and expanded the polarizing film portfolio for automotive applications.
- In October 2020, Zeon Corporation started the operation of its new manufacturing line for retardation films for large-screen TVs in Tsuruga.
- In June 2020, Ningbo Shanshan signed an agreement to acquire LG Chem’s liquid crystal display polarizer business.
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- The polarizing film dominated the optical film market in 2021. This type of optical film provides high lamination and robust durability, making it one of the core elements in the display of several electronic products and services.
- The television application is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period. For instance, according to the stats by the OLED Association, shipments of TCL advanced LCD TV in the fourth quarter of 2020 surged by 146% year on year.
- The Asia-Pacific region is projected to witness the highest demand for optical films owing to the increasing demand for electronic products in the region. For instance, as per the September 2021 data by India Brand Equity Foundation, smart TV shipments in India grew 65% year on year in the second quarter of 2021.
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