Printed, Flexible and Organic Electronics Report

Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2016-2026: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies

Assessment of ITO alternatives including silver nanowires, metal mesh, carbon nanotubes, graphene and others

ITO alternative films will reach a combined market value of $220m in 2026
This report provides the most comprehensive and authoritative view of the transparent conductive film (TCF) industry. In particular, it provides:
  • Market forecasts: Granular ten-year market forecasts segmented by application and technology. The forecasts are provided in value and area.
  • Technology assessment: Detailed, data-driven and insightful analysis of all the existing and emerging transparent conducting layer technologies including ITO film, ITO glass, silver nanowires, silver nanoparticles, various metal mesh technologies, graphene, carbon nanotubes, PEDOT, and others.
  • Application analysis: Market size and trend analysis of end applications such mobile phones, tablets, notebooks, smart watches, standalone touch monitors, AiOs, OLED lighting, and emerging thin film PV such as OPV, DSSC and Perovskites.
  • Company profiles: Critical and interview-based assessment and SWOT analysis of more than 40 companies active in the TCF industry. Coverage of 70 other players in the TCF value chain.
This report is based upon years of research as we have been tracking and analysing TCF industry since 2008. Our team has interviewed and profiled all the key users and producers of various types of TCF technologies.
We have attended countless relevant events globally and organized our own sessions on the topic since 2008 in Europe, Asia, and the USA. Our team has also delivered around 20 masterclass on the topic in different continents.
We have also completed more than 10 major consulting projects helping our customers profit from changes in this sector. Our work has covered investment due diligence, custom market research, product positioning, customer development, and growth strategy.
This market study is the distilled and processed result of our continuous endeavours. Each year we have learned more about the market trends, the key questions, latest prices, etc, and fine-tuned our analysis, insight and forecasts to reflect the latest.
Strong growth for ITO alternatives after the consolidation period
The TCF industry has recently experienced sluggish growth. The industry has transitioned from being supply-limited to being commoditized and demand-limited with supply currently outstripping demand.
Faced with the threat of alternatives and increased supply, the incumbents have decided to protect their market share by slashing their prices. This has upended the previously more-for-less value position of some alternative technologies.
This has triggered a consolidation period, adversely affected existing ITO film manufactures as well as alternative suppliers. This process has begun to take its high-profile victims but will have likely reached near the end of its usefulness as price falls are likely to have largely plateaued. We believe that the industry will have emerged from this phase by the end of the year.
The ITO alternative landscape has for long been too technologically crowded. Metal mesh and silver nanowires (despite the recent feedbacks) have emerged as the leading alternatives. They have raised the performance bar in the market. They are positioned as sustaining technologies in that they further the performance of TCFs along well-established figures-of-merit.
The challenge has been that the incumbent has proven good enough and thus hard to displace in most existing applications therefore alternatives are having to patiently wait for the emergence of new application areas such as large-area touch, flexible applications, etc. The value chain as well as the business case for many of these applications is finally coming together, opening the door for new TCF technologies.
Other alternatives now seek niche markets where their non-traditional figures-of-merit such as ultra-flexibility or stretchability count. In particular, 3D-shaped touch-sensing surfaces are emerging a market opportunity for TCF technologies that can be deposited flat and then thermoformed/moulded into a 3D shape.
Despite the recent setbacks, IDTechEx Research assesses that ITO alternatives are here to stay. They have matured as technologies and have already begun market penetration. Specific companies may come and go but the technologies will achieve market growth after a healthy period of valuation correction.
Indeed, we forecast that ITO alternatives will sell more than $220m in 2026 based on the latest and our projected film prices, thus achieving a 10-year CAGR for nearly 40%. We anticipate that nearly 65% of the growth will stem from applications which today make up only 3% of overall TCF/G sales.
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Table of Contents
2.1.ITO glass assessment: performance, manufacture & limitations
2.2.ITO glass in LCD displays
2.3.ITO film assessment: performance, manufacture and market trends
2.4.The Boom and Bust Cycle
2.5.ITO film shortcomings: flexibility
2.6.ITO film shortcomings: limited sheet resistance
2.7.ITO film shortcomings: index matching
2.8.ITO film shortcomings: thinness
2.9.ITO film shortcomings: price falls and commoditization
2.10.Indium prices fluctuations and single-supply-risk
2.11.Recycling comes to the rescue?
2.12.ITO-on-PET production capacity
2.13.Indium-free metal oxides win in high temperature applications
2.14.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: principles
2.15.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: growth and deposition
2.16.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: performance levels and value proposition
2.17.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: flexibility
2.18.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: haze, migration, and single supplier risk
2.19.Comparing manufacturing cost of Ag NW and ITO
2.20.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: existing commercial applications on the market
2.21.Silver nanowire transparent conductive films: latest market developments and news
2.22.Hitach Chemical's TCTF
2.23.Key Ag silver nanowire players
2.24.Metal mesh transparent conductive films: operating principles
2.25.Direct printed metal mesh transparent conductive films: performance
2.26.Direct printed metal mesh transparent conductive films: major shortcomings
2.27.Key players
2.28.Embossing/Imprinting metal mesh TCFs
2.29.Uni-Pixel's metal mesh performance
2.30.Unipixel in commercial products
2.31.Yield issues for embossed metal mesh?
2.32.Conductive Inkjet Technology's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
2.33.Ateml offloads assets to UniPixel
2.34.O-Film's metal mesh TCF technology
2.35.MNTech's metal mesh TCF technology
2.36.ITRI's approach to transparent conducting films
2.37.Metal mesh TCF is flexible
2.38.Cost breakdown of metal mesh and yield
2.39.SWOT analysis on embossed metal mesh TCFs
2.40.Key players
2.41.Fujifilm's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
2.42.Toppan Printing's copper mesh transparent conductive films
2.43.Dai Nippon Printing's transparent conductive film technology
2.44.Rolith's novel photo patterning technique
2.45.3M's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
2.46.Tanaka Metal's metal mesh technology
2.47.LCY's metal mesh technology
2.48.Screen Holding's metal mesh technology
2.49.Consistent Materials' photoresist for metal mesh
2.50.Asahi Kasei ultra-fine roll-to-roll imprinting
2.51.Komura-Tech's gravure offset metal mesh printing
2.52.SWOT analysis on photo patterned metal mesh TCFs
2.53.Key players
2.54.Carbon nanotubes: background
2.55.Basic MWCNT product metrics
2.56.Basic SWCNT product metrics
2.57.CNT production capacity by supplier and CNT type
2.58.Carbon nanotube transparent conductive films: performance
2.59.Carbon nanotube transparent conductive films: performance of commercial films on the market
2.60.Carbon nanotube transparent conductive films: matched index
2.61.Carbon nanotube transparent conductive films: mechanical flexibility
2.62.Carbon nanotube transparent conductive films: stretchability as a key differentiator for in-mould electronics
2.63.Example of 3D touch-sensing surface with CNTs
2.64.Example of wearable device using CNT
2.65.Key players
2.66.Graphene: background
2.67.Numerous ways of making graphene
2.68.Quantitative mapping of graphene morphologies on the market
2.69.Chemical vapour deposition
2.70.The transfer challenge
2.71.Roll-to-roll transfer of CVD graphene
2.72.Novel methods for transferring CVD graphene
2.73.Sony's approach to transfer of CVD process
2.74.Sony's CVD graphene approach
2.75.Wuxi Graphene Film Co's CVD graphene progress
2.76.Wuxi Graphene Film Co's CVD graphene progress
2.77.Production cost of CVD graphene
2.78.Direct CVD graphene growth on an insulating substrate?
2.79.Graphene transparent conductive film: performance levels
2.80.Doping as a strategy for improving graphene TCF performance
2.81.Be wary of extraordinary results for graphene
2.82.Graphene transparent conducting films: flexibility
2.83.Graphene transparent conducting films: thinness and barrier layers
2.84.SWOT analysis on graphene TCFs
2.85.Key players
2.87.Patterning PEDOT:PSS
2.88.Performance of PEDOT:PSS has drastically improved
2.89.PEDOT:PSS is now on a par with ITO-on-PET
2.90.PEDOT:PSS is mechanically flexible
2.91.PEDOT:PSS is stretchable and can be thermoformed
2.92.Stability and spatial uniformity of PEDOT:PSS
2.93.Nippon Chemi-Con's polymeric transparent conductive film
2.94.Commercial product using PEDOT:PSS
2.95.Use case examples of PEDOT:PSS TCFs
2.96.Key players
2.97.Fine wire TCF technology
2.98.Performance of fine wire large-sized touch displays on the market
2.99.SWOT analysis on micro wire TCFs
2.100.CimaTech's self-assembled nanoparticle technology
2.101.Examples of Cima Nanotech's technology
2.102.ClearJet's inkjet printed nanoparticle-based TCFs
2.103.E-Fly Corporation's nanoparticle-based TCFs
2.104.Quantitative benchmarking of different TCF technologies
2.105.Technology comparison
3.1.Consumer electronic device shipment forecasts
3.2.Smart phones have been growing in size
3.3.Growth in smart phones to come in the low-cost brackets
3.4.Chinese brands are stealing market share in China
3.5.Smart phone market is highly diverse and fragmented
3.6.Different capacitive touch architectures
3.7.Share of different touch screen architectures
3.8.Optical touch systems for large area touch displays
3.9.Assessing different optical touch technologies
3.10.Assessing different optical touch technologies
3.11.Metal mesh in large area capacitive touch screens
3.12.Metal mesh in large area capacitive touch screens
3.13.OLED lighting market
3.14.Latest OLED lighting market announcements
3.15.Integrated substrates for OLED lighting
3.16.Market Forecast for Organic photovoltaics
3.17.Latest news on organic photovoltaics
3.18.Segmented market forecast for flexible OLED displays
3.19.OLED display revenue by technology
3.20.Smart window production capacity by technology & player
3.21.Smart window market projection
3.22.Market Forecasts
3.23.TCF film prices used in our projections
3.24.Ten-year technology-segmented transparent conducting layer forecasts in $
3.25.Ten-year technology-segmented transparent conducting film forecasts in area
3.26.Ten-year technology-segmented transparent conducting glass forecasts in area
3.27.Ten-year application-segmented for ITO films
3.28.Ten-year application-segmented for ITO glass
3.29.Ten-year application-segmented for silver nanowire TCFs
3.30.Ten-year application-segmented for metal mesh TCFs
3.31.Ten-year application-segmented for PEDOT TCFs
5.1.Arkema, France
5.2.Blue Nano, USA
5.3.Bluestone Global Tech, USA
5.5.Cambrios, USA
5.6.Canatu, Finland
5.7.Carestream Advanced Materials, USA
5.8.Charmtron Inc
5.9.Cima Nanotech, USA
5.10.ClearJet, Israel
5.11.Dai Nippon Printing, Japan
5.12.Displax Interactive Systems, Portugal
5.13.Epigem Ltd
5.14.E-Fly Optoelectronic Materials Co., Ltd.
5.15.Goss International Americas, USA
5.16.Graphene Frontiers
5.17.Graphene Laboratories, USA
5.18.Graphene Square
5.20.Haydale Ltd
5.21.Heraeus, Germany
5.23.Komori Corporation
5.25.Nanogap, Spain
5.30.O-Film, China
5.31.PolyIC, Germany
5.32.Poly-Ink, France
5.33.Promethean Particles
5.34.Seashell Technology, USA
5.35.Showa Denko, Japan
5.36.Showa Denko K.K
5.37.Sinovia Technologies, USA
5.38.SouthWest NanoTechnologies, USA
5.39.Toppan Printing
5.40.UniPixel, USA
5.41.University of Exeter, UK
5.42.Visual Planet, UK
5.43.Wuxi Graphene Film
5.44.XinNano Materials, Taiwan
5.45.Zytronic, UK
6.1.Agfa-Gevaert, Belgium
6.2.3M, USA
6.3.Atmel, USA
6.4.C3Nano, USA
6.5.Chasm Technologies, USA
6.6.Cheil Industries, South Korea
6.7.Chimei Innolux, Taiwan
6.8.Chisso Corp., Japan
6.9.Conductive Inkjet Technologies (Carlco), USA
6.10.Dontech Inc., USA
6.11.Duke University, USA
6.12.Eastman Kodak, USA
6.13.Eikos, USA
6.14.ELK, South Korea
6.15.Evaporated Coatings Inc., USA
6.16.Evonik, Germany
6.17.Fujifilm Ltd, Japan
6.18.Fujitsu, Japan
6.19.Gunze Ltd, Japan
6.20.Hitachi Chemical, Japan
6.21.Holst Center, Netherlands
6.22.Iljin Display, South Korea
6.23.Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), Singapore
6.24.Join Well Technology Company Ltd., Taiwan
6.25.J-Touch, Taiwan
6.26.KAIST, South Korea
6.27.Komoro, Japan
6.28.KPT Shanghai Keyan Phosphor Technology Co. Ltd., China
6.29.Lee Tat Industrial Development (LTI) Ltd, Hong Kong
6.30.LG Chem, South Korea
6.31.Maxfilm, South Koera
6.32.Mianyang Prochema Plastics Co., Ltd., China
6.33.Mirae/MNTec, South Korea
6.34.Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsui Ltd., Japan
6.35.Mutto Optronics, China
6.36.Nagase Corporation, Japan
6.37.Nanopyxis, South Korea
6.38.National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan
6.39.National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
6.40.Nicanti, Finland
6.41.Nitto Denko, Japan
6.42.Nouvo Film
6.43.Oike & CO., Ltd., Japan
6.44.Oji Paper Group, Japan
6.45.Panipol Ltd., Finland
6.46.Perceptive Pixel, USA
6.47.Polychem UV/EB, Taiwan
6.48.Power Booster, China
6.49.Rice University, USA
6.50.Rolith, USA
6.51.Samsung Electronics, South Korea
6.52.Sang Bo Corporation (SBK), South Korea
6.53.Sekisui Nano Coat Technology Ltd., Japan
6.54.Sheldahl, USA
6.55.Sigma-Aldrich, USA
6.56.Sony Corporation, Japan
6.57.Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Inc., Japan
6.58.Suzutora, Japan
6.59.TDK, Japan
6.60.Teijin Kasei America, Inc. / Teijin Chemical, USA
6.61.Top Nanosys, South Korea
6.62.Toray Advanced Film (TAF), Japan
6.63.Toyobo, Japan
6.64.UCLA, USA
6.65.Unidym, USA
6.66.University of Michigan, USA
6.67.VisionTek Systems Ltd., UK
6.68.Young Fast Optoelectronics, Taiwan

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Report Statistics

-Forecasts to2026
-Last updateSep 2016


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