Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2015-2025: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies: IDTechEx

This report has been updated. Click here to view latest edition.

If you have previously purchased the archived report below then please use the download links on the right to download the files.

Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2015-2025: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies

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

Brand new for June 2015

Show All Description Contents, Table & Figures List Pricing Related Content
At IDTechEx we have been closely following and analysing the transparent conductive film market for the past five years. To this end, we interviewed more than 40 innovators, suppliers and end-users, organised several conferences around the world, developed a detailed and constantly updated forecast datasheet, and advised our clients globally either through consulting or subscriptions. We have cultivated strong relationship with key industry players, allowing us unprecedented insight into this market, and our close engagement with users and investors means that we are familiar with prevalent questions. This market study is the distilled and processed result of our continuous endeavours.
End markets changing, albeit slowly
The transparent conductive film market will reach US$1.2bn in 2025 at the film level (ITO-on-glass, LCD displays, OLED displays and thin film PV are excluded). ITO films will continue their dominance, but silver nanowires and metal mesh will each also reach $126m and $191m in 2025.
Today the market is completely dominated by touch related applications although other applications will begin to take a notable share of this growing pie from 2020 onwards. These applications include smart windows, OLED lighting, emerging photovoltaics, reflective displays, etc. They, together with larger-sized or flexible touch screens, will bring about a new set of performance targets.
The market value split between touch and non-touch applications. Non-touch applications grow in prominence from 2020 onwards.
Source: IDTechEx
The incumbent flexes its muscles
Indium-tin-oxide (ITO) films dominate the transparent conductive film market. Strong trends however seemed to undermine its dominance for a long time. The incumbent had reached its performance limit, so the story went, and therefore could not service the emerging market needs such as ultralow sheet resistance and high mechanical flexibility. This is where alternatives were to step in, succeeding as substitutes thanks to both a performance and cost benefit.
These trends are real and are changing the market, albeit with a slower pace than many anticipated. Predictably though, the incumbents have responded to protect their share. They have slashed their selling prices and expanded production capacity. Their new pricing strategy is to lower their price piecemeal every time an alternative is about to win business, while their capacity expansion strategy is aimed at assuaging end-user fears that the supply-demand relationship is too tight.
Make or break years for ITO alternatives
This is all good news for end-users but spells a difficult period of ITO alternative suppliers. Indeed, this market dynamic is making the next two years make-or-break years for ITO alternative suppliers. The barriers to entry have been raised again, whilst at the same time the market segments in which ITO alternatives commanded a performance advantage have disappointed.
For example, the sales of large-sized touch displays have massively undershot expectations whilst the emergence of plastic but rigid touch displays has proved no panacea because it barely budged ITO from its comfort zone.
These market conditions herald an overdue consolidation period. The market forces will weed out suppliers of mediocre alternatives and/or poorly-differentiated companies. This is essential because the number of ITO alternative suppliers has mushroomed recently with the proliferation of many 'me too' players. The growing market pie will not sustain all.
The performance bar has been raised in the market
Silver nanowires and metal mesh offer a lower sheet resistance than both ITO and other alternatives without significantly compromising optical quality. Their pricing strategy continues to be based on undercutting ITO to maintain a more-for-less value proposition, although this is becoming increasingly challenging.
In fact, they have increased the performance bar so high that the likes of carbon nanotubes and graphene will be blocked out of the main markets and be pushed towards niche use cases. This suggests that developers of these technologies need to be imaginative again and build on their stronger differentiators such as stretchability, thermoformability, etc. This change of focus is already underway but will come too late for some.
The battle between metal mesh suppliers will be fought on narrowing the linewidth and improving throughput and yield (biggest cost unknown/driver). Amongst silver nanowire suppliers, haze was a point of contention, but now attention is focused on innovation at the formulation level. Here, the first mover advantage will also matter whilst the IP landscape is now no longer white, which further prevents access to new comers.
Leading ITO alternatives are here to stay
We believe that the value proposition for the leading alternatives is still strong. Indeed, we anticipate that silver nanowires and metal mesh will reach $126m and $191m in 2025, respectively. We anticipate major adoption announcements soon.
Their claimed more-for-less value proposition is however increasingly looking like a more-for-same one. The market penetration journey will therefore be slow as ITO is just about good enough in most existing applications.
The market for ITO alternatives split by technology. Silver nanowires and metal mesh together control the vast majority of the ITO alternative market, pushing other alternatives towards nice corners.
Source: IDTechEx
Next phase of innovation
We feel that the next phase of innovation needs to disrupt the way transparent conducting films are patterned. This a major cost driver and a particular handicap for the incumbent, despite the largely depreciated CapEx (barring new unutilized capacity brought online last year). We already see early-stage innovative solutions being touted around. It is simply the case now that being a little bit better and a little cheaper will no longer cut it in this hugely competitive field.
What does this report offer
This report provides a detailed assessment of the transparent conductive film and glass markets. It provides a data-driven and quantitative analysis and benchmarking of the incumbents and all the emerging options. We have interviewed and profiled all the key suppliers and innovators of each type technology, providing you with critical and analysed business intelligence (more than 40 interview-based profiles).
1- Insights into technologies, markets and players
2- Interview-based company profiles for more than 40 suppliers of ITO and ITO alternatives
3- Ten-year market forecast in value (USD) and area (sqm) segmented by the following applications:
  • Mobile phones (including smart phones), tablets, notebooks, monitors and TV
  • Touch-enabled wearable devices
  • Organic photovoltaics and dye-sensitised solar cells
  • OLED lighting
  • EL displays
  • Smart windows
4- Ten-year market forecast in value (USD) and area (sqm) segmented by the following technologies:
  • ITO-on-Glass
  • ITO-on-PET
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Graphene
  • Silver nanowires
  • Metal mesh (printed, etched, embossed, etc)
  • Other emerging solutions
5- Detailed, data-driven, and quantitative assessment and benchmarking of the above-listed technologies on the following basis:
  • Sheet resistance vs transmission chart
  • Flexibility and stretchability data
  • Reduction and deposition method
  • Detailed cost structures
  • Product and prototype launches
  • Challenges such as haze, material availability, linewidth visibility, Moire patterns, stability, etc
6- Detailed application assessment including trends and detailed target/addressable market forecasts for the above-listed applications
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
If you have any questions about this report, please do not hesitate to contact our report team at or call one of our sales managers:

AMERICAS (USA): +1 617 577 7890
ASIA (Japan): +81 3 3216 7209
EUROPE (UK) +44 1223 812300
Table of Contents
2.1.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology
2.2.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology
2.3.ITO alternative TCFs- ten year market forecast by technology
2.4.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology in km sqr
2.5.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in km sqr
2.6.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in USD
2.7.Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in USD
3.1.ITO on Glass
3.2.Application example of ITO-on-Glass
3.3.SWOT Analysis on ITO-on-Glass
3.4.ITO-on-Glass market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.5.ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
3.6.ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
3.7.ITO-on-PET performance
3.8.ITO-on-PET is not flexible
3.9.Large area applications need lower sheet resistance
3.10.ITO requires index matching layers
3.11.ITO-on-PET prices
3.12.Bill-of-Materials for ITO
3.13.Exaggerated single supplier risk?
3.14.ITO is not the thinnest but the substrate is the determinant factor
3.15.ITO-on-PET production capacity
3.16.SWOT analysis on ITO-on-PET
3.17.Key suppliers of ITO-on-PET
3.18.ITO-on-Plastic market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.19.ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
3.20.Non-ITO oxides
3.21.Silver nanowires
3.22.Silver nanowires performance data
3.23.Ag NW transparent conductive films are flexible
3.24.Ag NW touch screens amongst the best performers
3.25.Growth and deposition
3.26.Comparing manufacturing cost of Ag NW and ITO
3.27.Cost structure of Ag NW transparent conductive films
3.28.Existing applications of Ag NW TCFs
3.29.Key players
3.30.Silver nanowire TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.31.Silver nanowire TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
3.32.Carbon nanotubes
3.33.CNT production capacity by player and applications
3.34.Carbon nanotube performance as TCF material
3.35.Carbon nanotube TCFs are flexible
3.36.Carbon nanotube TCFs are stretchable and thermo-formable
3.37.CNT TCFs have matched refractive index
3.38.SWOT analysis on carbon nanotube TCFs
3.39.Key players
3.40.Carbon nanotube TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.41.Carbon nanotube TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
3.42.There are many graphene types of the market
3.43.Numerous ways of making graphene
3.44.Chemical vapour deposition
3.45.The transfer challenge
3.46.Latest in the transfer challenge
3.47.Direct CVD graphene growth on an insulating substrate?
3.48.Performance of CVD graphene as a TCF material
3.49.Doping as a strategy for improving graphene TCF performance
3.50.Be wary of extraordinary results
3.51.Graphene TCFs are flexible
3.52.SWOT analysis on graphene TCFs
3.53.Key players
3.55.Patterning PEDOT:PSS
3.56.Performance of PEDOT:PSS has drastically improved
3.57.PEDOT:PSS is now on a par with ITO-on-PET
3.58.PEDOT:PSS is mechanically flexible
3.59.PEDOT:PSS is stretchable and can be thermoformed
3.60.Stability and spatial uniformity of PEDOT:PSS
3.61.Use case examples of PEDOT:PSS TCFs
3.62.Key players
3.63.PEDOT TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.64.PEDOT TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
3.65.Metal mesh
3.66.Directly printed metal mesh TCFs are low resistance
3.67.Printed metal mesh suffers from visible tracks
3.68.Printed metal mesh suffers from visible tracks
3.69.SWOT analysis on directly printed metal mesh TCFs
3.70.Key players
3.71.Embossing/Imprinting metal mesh TCFs
3.72.Uni-Pixel's metal mesh performance
3.73.O-Film's metal mesh TCF technology
3.74.MNTech's metal mesh TCF technology
3.75.Metal mesh TCF is flexible
3.76.Cost breakdown of metal mesh and yield
3.77.Market share of leading suppliers in metal mesh
3.78.SWOT analysis on embossed metal mesh TCFs
3.79.Key players
3.80.Fujifilm's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
3.81.Conductive Inkjet Technology's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
3.82.3M's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
3.83.Rolith's novel photo patterning technique
3.84.SWOT analysis on photo patterned metal mesh TCFs
3.85.Key players
3.86.Which companies uses what metal mesh technology?
3.87.Metal mesh TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
3.88.Metal mesh TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
3.89.Micro fine wire TCF technology
3.90.SWOT analysis on micro wire TCFs
3.91.SWOT analysis on micro wire TCFs
3.92.Key players
3.93.CimaTech's self-assembled nanoparticle technology
3.94.Examples of Cima Nanotech's technology
3.95.Examples of Cima Nanotech's technology
3.96.ClearJet's inkjet printed nanoparticle-based TCFs
3.97.Technology comparison
4.1.Smart phone shipment units
4.2.Different touch solutions in the market
4.3.Smart phones have been growing in size
4.4.Growth in smart phones to come in the low-cost brackets
4.5.Smart phone market is highly diverse and fragmented
4.6.Chinese brands are stealing market share in China
4.7.TCF market share by technology in smart phones
4.8.TCF market forecast in smart phones
4.9.Tablet sales are set to grow
4.10.TCF market share by technology in the tablets
4.11.TCF market forecast in tablets
4.12.Touch notebook sales
4.13.TCF market share by technology in touch notebooks
4.14.TCF market forecast in touch notebooks
4.15.Touch monitors underwhelm
4.16.TCF market share by technology in touch PC monitors
4.17.TCF market forecast in touch PC monitors
4.18.OLED lighting market
4.19.Latest OLED lighting market announcements
4.20.Integrated substrates for OLED lighting
4.21.TCF market share by technology in OLED lighting
4.22.TCF market forecast in OLED lighting
4.23.Market Forecast for Organic photovoltaics
4.24.Latest news on organic photovoltaics
4.25.TCF market share by technology in OPVs
4.26.TCF market forecast in OPVs
4.27.OLED Displays: Beginning of a 3rd wave
4.28.Latest progress in flexible OLED displays
4.29.Products launched in September 2014
4.30.Segmented market forecast for flexible OLED displays
4.31.OLED display revenue by technology
4.32.Smart window production capacity by technology & player
4.33.Smart window market projection
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.Cima Nanotech, USA
5.9.ClearJet, Israel
5.10.Dai Nippon Printing, Japan
5.11.Displax Interactive Systems, Portugal
5.12.Epigem Ltd
5.13.Goss International Americas, USA
5.14.Graphene Frontiers
5.15.Graphene Laboratories, USA
5.16.Graphene Square
5.18.Haydale Ltd
5.19.Heraeus, Germany
5.21.Nanogap, Spain
5.26.O-Film, China
5.27.PolyIC, Germany
5.28.Poly-Ink, France
5.29.Promethean Particles
5.30.Rolith, USA
5.31.Seashell Technology, USA
5.32.Showa Denko, Japan
5.33.Showa Denko K.K
5.34.Sinovia Technologies, USA
5.35.SouthWest NanoTechnologies, USA
5.36.Toppan Printing
5.37.UniPixel, USA
5.38.University of Exeter, UK
5.39.Visual Planet, UK
5.40.Wuxi Graphene Film
5.41.XinNano Materials, Taiwan
5.42.Zytronic, UK
6.1.Typical properties on PET with bar coater
6.1.Agfa-Gevaert, Belgium
6.2.3M, USA
6.2.Key performance data characteristics 3M's metal mesh TCFs
6.3.Yielded cost per unit area of TCF for touch panel applications
6.3.Atmel, USA
6.4.C3Nano, USA
6.4.Tiny copper wires can be built in bulk and then "printed" on a surface to conduct current, transparently.
6.5.Eastman Kodak HCF Film
6.5.Chasm Technologies, USA
6.6.Cheil Industries, South Korea
6.6.Opportunity for PEDOT in the Display industry
6.7.Performance of PEDOT formulation from Eastman Kodak versus ITO
6.7.Chimei Innolux, Taiwan
6.8.Chisso Corp., Japan
6.8.CNT Ink Production Process
6.9.Target application areas of Eikos
6.9.Conductive Inkjet Technologies (Carlco), USA
6.10.Dontech Inc., USA
6.10.Transmittance (%) as a function of wavelength (nm) for organic conductive polymers and ITO.
6.11.Comparison of organic conductive polymers and configuration of the developed organic conductive polymer film
6.11.Duke University, USA
6.12.Eastman Kodak, USA
6.12.Gunze's flexible display, presented early 2009
6.13.Picture and pattern of transparent thermally conductive film
6.13.Eikos, USA
6.14.ELK, South Korea
6.14.Efficiency of TCF vs cell size
6.15.Indium migration vs other TCFs
6.15.Evaporated Coatings Inc., USA
6.16.Evonik, Germany
6.16.A schematic giving insight into MNTech's manufacturing process and a table outlining performance levels
6.17.Ga:ZnO films on a glass panel with the inventors and scanning electron images of 3D transparent conducting electrodes
6.17.Fujifilm Ltd, Japan
6.18.Fujitsu, Japan
6.18.The owners of Nicanti
6.19.Nicanti Printaf project
6.19.Gunze Ltd, Japan
6.20.Hitachi Chemical, Japan
6.20.Transparent conductive film - ELECRYSTA
6.21.Sales and operating profits for Nitto Denko
6.21.Holst Center, Netherlands
6.22.Iljin Display, South Korea
6.22.Nitto Denko's product offerings for displays including ITO film
6.23.Transparent conductive film using organic semiconductors
6.23.Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), Singapore
6.24.Join Well Technology Company Ltd., Taiwan
6.24.TCF solutions from Panipol
6.25.Polychem PEDOT Polymer Coating
6.25.J-Touch, Taiwan
6.26.KAIST, South Korea
6.26.Patterned Sample by the New Technology
6.27.JEFF FITLOW -Yu Zhu, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice University, holds a sample of a transparent electrode that merges graphene and a fine aluminum grid
6.27.Komoro, Japan
6.28.KPT Shanghai Keyan Phosphor Technology Co. Ltd., China
6.28.A hybrid material that combines a fine aluminum mesh with a single-atom-thick layer of graphene
6.29.An electron microscope image of a hybrid electrode developed at Rice University
6.29.Lee Tat Industrial Development (LTI) Ltd, Hong Kong
6.30.LG Chem, South Korea
6.30.Roll-to-roll CVD production of very large-sized flexible graphene films
6.31.ITO-on-PET film stack
6.31.Maxfilm, South Koera
6.32.Mianyang Prochema Plastics Co., Ltd., China
6.32.FLECLEAR structure
6.33.Teijin's ELECLEAR ITO film
6.33.Mirae/MNTec, South Korea
6.34.Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsui Ltd., Japan
6.34.New metal grid TCF technology developed by Toray
6.35.Etched metal mesh TCF technology developed by Toray
6.35.Mutto Optronics, China
6.36.Nagase Corporation, Japan
6.36.CNT TCF technology developed by Toray
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.Oike & CO., Ltd., Japan
6.43.Oji Paper Group, Japan
6.44.Panipol Ltd., Finland
6.45.Perceptive Pixel, USA
6.46.Polychem UV/EB, Taiwan
6.47.Power Booster, China
6.48.Rice University, USA
6.49.Samsung Electronics, South Korea
6.50.Sang Bo Corporation (SBK), South Korea
6.51.Sekisui Nano Coat Technology Ltd., Japan
6.52.Sheldahl, USA
6.53.Sigma-Aldrich, USA
6.54.Sony Corporation, Japan
6.55.Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Inc., Japan
6.56.Suzutora, Japan
6.57.TDK, Japan
6.58.Teijin Kasei America, Inc. / Teijin Chemical, USA
6.59.Top Nanosys, South Korea
6.60.Toray Advanced Film (TAF), Japan
6.61.Toyobo, Japan
6.62.UCLA, USA
6.63.Unidym, USA
6.64.University of Michigan, USA
6.65.VisionTek Systems Ltd., UK
6.66.Young Fast Optoelectronics, Taiwan

Report Statistics

Slides 167
Companies 107
Forecasts to 2025

Subscription Enquiry