Every once in a while, since 1986, I have misjudged the annual market for industrial lasers—2009 was one when the entire world economy took a dive. Now another shocker—this one on the positive side—is reported in my annual review of the industrial laser market, which is available at https://goo.gl/yuG7zs.
I won't say I didn't see it coming, as outstanding first-half results from industry leaders TRUMPF, Coherent, and IPG Photonics predicted the year might be a very good one. However, not as good as I thought, as final numbers—to be confirmed this February when industry leaders report last-quarter 2017 revenues—will turn my "good" to GREAT!
As with many great experiences in life, like the recent New England Patriots come-from-behind win for the American Football League title, there is afterwards a sobering moment. In the case of the Pats, they now have to win the Super Bowl. In the case of the industrial laser market, matching 2017's 26% revenue growth will be very difficult. So difficult that ILS is projecting a return to a more-normal, but still very acceptable, single-digit growth.
Readers who subscribe to ILS and read my review will know why ILS early-2017 projection for year-end results were too low. Readers who click on the link above will also see the reasons behind the forecast for a more modest growth rate in 2018. Simply put, the bar has been raised to a very high level and industry suppliers will have to clear this before adding revenues in the growth column.
It's way too soon to make a projection, but one assumes the happenings in Washington—a new tax code, its consequences for capital investment in the U.S., and the global fallout from this, coupled with the expected rancour in the mid-term elections and reactions from Congress, plus global turmoil in Asia and the Middle East—won't put a damper on company spending for new equipment. But should it happen, even matching ILS' 2018 projection will be problematic.
It can be done, so taking a clue from the Pats team mantra—Do The Job.