The market study covers the present scenario and growth prospects of the global sapphire glass market for 2017-2021. The report also lists LED manufacturing, consumer electronics, semiconductors, and medical devices and industrial, as the four major application segments, of which LED manufacturing accounted for close to 50% of the market share in 2016.
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Technavio analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global sapphire glass market:
- Increased demand from LED and semiconductor industries
- High demand for luxury watches in Asia
- Wide scope for application
Increased demand from LED and semiconductor industries
Sapphire glass is widely used as a substrate in LED and semiconductor manufacturing. The superior properties of sapphire glass make it a preferred material for manufacturing LEDs and semiconductors. The LED and semiconductor industries consume about 78% of the sapphire material produced and remain as the major end-user segment. Sapphire substrates are widely used in growing blue LED crystals.
High quality, greater brightness, long life, and low energy consumption are the major benefits of using sapphire glass in LEDs. Regional government policies and regulations triggered the use of LED lighting over incandescent and CFL lighting, thereby increasing the demand for sapphire.
“The consumption of sapphire wafers in semiconductors also increased due to the growth in semiconductor manufacturing. Therefore, the growing demand from LED and semiconductor manufacturers is driving the global sapphire glass market,” says Mahitha Mallishetty, a lead analyst at Technavio for glass and ceramics research.
High demand for luxury watches in Asia
Sapphire crystal is used in most high-end watch brands, such as Rolex, Omega, TagHeuer, Victorinox, Citizen, Seiko, and most premium branded Swiss watches. Asia accounted for almost half of the Swiss watch imports in 2010, and Hong Kong ranked the highest.
In 2014, the most popular brands in China were Cartier, Omega, and Rolex. Furthermore, in the same year, Russia and India exhibited a significant increase in interest for luxury watches.
“Sapphire crystal is preferred over other watch glass as it is least prone to scratching or shattering. Brand penetration and increasing disposable income of individuals in the region have increased the demand for luxury watches, thereby driving the market growth,” says Mahitha.
Wide scope for application
Sapphire glass is widely used in medical, aerospace, and defense segments in display and safety equipment. In the aerospace and defense sector, sapphire windows are used for safety. Saint-Gobain Crystals produces sapphire products for aerospace and defense applications. It offers products for transparent armor solution, electro-optical and infrared windows, countermeasure system, and vision systems. Rubicon Technologies, another key vendor, in its project LANCE produced large-area sapphire glass for military infrared-sensing applications.
Sapphire glass is widely used in medical surgical systems due to its laser transmission, high resistance to heat, and non-thrombogenic properties. Swiss Jewel produces sapphire for endoscope lenses, laser hair removal systems, blood cell counters, insulators, and surgical blades. Furthermore, it is used in optical applications, such as xenon lamps, gas analyzers, cryogenic viewports, photodiodes, barcode scanners, and detectors. Although medical and aerospace and defense markets appear to consume less quantity of the total sapphire glass produced, the revenue generated is high and the sapphire glass consumed is of high quality.
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