Where the numbers come from

The Laser Focus World Annual Review and Forecast of the Laser Marketplace is based on a worldwide survey of laser producers and covers 27 types of lasers and 20 applications.

Jan 1st, 2005

The Laser Focus World Annual Review and Forecast of the Laser Marketplace is based on a worldwide survey of laser producers and covers 27 types of lasers and 20 applications. Diode-laser market information is provided by Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA). Industrial-laser market information is provided by Industrial Laser Solutions, and the Medical Laser Report newsletter provides the medical market analysis. This review is the only major survey of its kind in this industry whose results are made public.

For many, both inside and outside the industry, from private-sector investors to foreign and U.S. government bodies, this report is the only objective summary of major trends in our industry that is readily available. Part I examines the overall market trends with more detail on nondiode lasers. Part II will be published in February and will cover the diode-laser marketplace.

A more extensive review of the data, with supporting commentary from market analysts, will be available to attendees at the Lasers and Photonics Marketplace Seminar, held in conjunction with Photonics West (San Jose, CA) on January 24. For more information see www.marketplaceseminar.com or call Lisa Gowern at 603-891-9267.

Collecting the data

We conducted our research and analysis for the Review and Forecast during October and November 2004. We asked manufacturers to provide a confidential estimate of total worldwide market size (dollars and units) for 2004, based on year-to-date actual data, and a forecast for 2005. In addition to the information provided by the manufacturers, we also used data from other more narrowly focused market surveys, and we incorporated commentary provided by industry analysts who added market insight for specific segments. The detailed fiber laser sales information this year was provided by SLI Optics (Southampton, England), whose help over the past couple of years in getting a handle on the fiber-laser business has been invaluable.

Changes from last year

A comparison of last year's 2004 estimates with this year's restated 2004 numbers will show differences and occasional discontinuities in the numbers reported as compared to last year. In general, no attempt has been made to explain these differences in detail. We request "bottom-up" market estimates, and the respondents to our survey do vary from year to year—both in terms of the companies involved and the individuals—so variations in the results are inevitable. In addition, changes in market visibility occur as market shares change. Differences in the overall numbers for 2004 last year and for 2004 this year may also reflect whatever degree of optimism or pessimism was inherent in last year's forecast (see Optoelectronics Report, January 2004).

Observant readers will also notice that the "Other" laser category used in the tables in prior years has been replaced this year by the "Fiber" laser category. This change reflects the growing importance of fiber lasers in the overall market picture, and the fact that the other types of lasers previously included in this grouping (such as metal vapor lasers) have increasingly less significance in terms of total laser revenues.

—SGA

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