December 19, 2008--Laser Focus World's annual review and forecast of the laser markets predicts that 2009 global laser revenues will decline 11% from 2008. These and other findings will be published in the January issue of Laser Focus World magazine, and will be discussed in depth at the annual Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar in San Jose, CA on January 26, 2009, which will also feature "The Greening of Photonics" Technology Forum.
The laser market forecast includes both diode and non-diode lasers for applications as varied as metal cutting, vision correction, fiber communications, and DVD players. The Marketplace Seminar will cover all of these forecasts and markets, and also includes the Technology Forum on green photonics that includes presentations on solid-state lighting, photovoltaics, and laser-based sensors used for environmental monitoring.
"It's a testament to the strength of the first two quarters of 2008 that the year will end up slightly ahead of 2007 or at worst, flat," says Tom Hausken, analyst at Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA), who led the quantitative evaluation of the laser markets, noting that 2008 revenues of $7.1 billion in sales representated 3.7% growth over the 2007 numbers. "Q4 2008 now looks like it will be off from the peak in Q2 by over 20%, but we won't have a better picture until late February--almost two more months."
Hausken continues, "The next quarters will obviously be troubled for the laser industry. Our forecast as it stands holds out hope that the last half of 2009 could lighten up in some sectors. If the last half doesn't come through, then 2009 will decline 20% or more from 2008, based on quarterly revenues reset to the level we are at now."
"Manufacturers report extremely poor visibility into 2009," says Hausken. "The profit picture is the worst part of all this. The longer the recession lasts, the more the suppliers will consolidate. Companies with cash will be able to acquire IP and business at a discount. Some companies may come out stronger than when they went in, but the financial and human cost to this are very disturbing."
Despite the financial picture, the long-term prospects for photonics are positive. Like everyone else, Laser Focus World is hopeful that the new administration will start to make good on its promises of promoting renewable energy come January, creating a "green" photonics revolution that will benefit the larger laser and photonics industry.
The greening of photonics
Nearly every aspect of the photonics industry is "green" today, with a heavy emphasis on environmentally sustainable processes and products. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are penetrating the lighting market, organics LEDs (OLEDs) are making a splash in displays, photovoltaics continue to make advances in on-par fossil-fuel performance, and even laser fission/fusion is looking at becoming a viable long-term energy source. This year's Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar Technology Forum includes presentations from Daylight Solutions (Poway, CA) on optical sensors for environmental monitoring, from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA) on solid-state lighting prospects and challenges, and Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) explores the world of laser processing for solar cells.
About the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar: Held in conjunction with SPIE's Photonics West, the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar is a one-day event that analyzes the business of photonics. Now in its 21st year, the annual seminar provides photonics industry decision makers and stakeholders with market information and analysis, a look at emerging opportunities, and a forum for networking. The seminar provides a comprehensive market perspective that is unobtainable elsewhere, with market data segmented by applications and laser technology from three of the photonics industry's leading resources: Laser Focus World, which delivers global coverage of the entire photonics industry; Industrial Laser Solutions, a primary source of information on industrial laser materials processing, and Strategies Unlimited, a market research unit of PennWell and the world's foremost photonics market research company. In addition, industry experts present their views and analysis of photonics-market trends, applications development, and business outlook.
For more information, visit www.marketplaceseminar.com.
--Posted by Gail Overton