Industrial-laser sales to fall 32% in 2009, with fiber lasers better than most, says Strategies Unlimited

March 25, 2009
The industrial-laser market will fall 32% in 2009, to the level of 2004, if sales stay at current levels.

The industrial-laser market will fall 32% in 2009, to the level of 2004, if sales stay at current levels. Sales will return to 2008 levels by 2013, helped by military, biomedical instruments, and energy-related applications. Many materials-processing applications--spanning laser marking to metal cutting and welding--will take longer to recover. Fiber-laser suppliers will see a shallower decline of 24% to $230 million, and will experience faster recovery than other types of lasers. But if the recession deepens or if suppliers engage in a desperate price war, 2009 sales will fall further. These are some of the conclusions of a new report from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA), the leading market research firm covering optoelectronics markets.

Coherent (Santa Clara, CA) and TRUMPF (Ditzingen, Germany) remain at the top of the list in market share. While the industrial laser business is highly fragmented, the top 10 suppliers earn about 86% of the laser revenues, while many dozens of small suppliers share less than 5% of the market. IPG Photonics (Oxford, MA) continues to dominate fiber-laser sales. Yet, the recession is so severe that every supplier will be forced to pick and choose the laser businesses in which it wants to continue to compete. Afterward, not only will there be fewer players, but the remaining players will play in fewer niches.

"The recession breaks a nearly unbroken string of growth for both fiber lasers and industrial lasers in general," says Tom Hausken, director of components research at Strategies Unlimited. "For the next several years the business will appear less like a steady, growing, still-young market and more like a cyclic one, more typical of mature capital markets."

Fiber and Industrial Laser Market Review and Forecast-2009, available now, reviews the technology, applications, key trends, markets, and suppliers of fiber and industrial lasers. For more information, contact Strategies Unlimited at +1 650 941-3438 (voice) or email at info@strategies, or check the company's web site at

Founded in 1979, Strategies Unlimited specializes in market research and strategic consulting directed at optoelectronics and compound semiconductors. The company, based in Mountain View, California, is a research unit of PennWell Corporation, a global media and information company serving the energy and advanced technology markets since 1910. PennWell's brands include Industrial Laser Solutions, Vision Systems Design, Laser Focus World, Lightwave, and Solid State Technology.

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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