Anti-reflective coatings market size is forecast to reach US$5.2 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period 2022-2027. Anti-reflective coatings are applied to optical surfaces to increase the throughput of a system and reduce hazards caused by reflections that travel backwards. Anti-reflective coating is a type of optical coating also known as anti-glare coating. Anti-reflective coatings are used in various applications where light passes through an optical surface, and low reflection is desired. Examples include anti-glare coatings on corrective lenses and display elements, and anti-reflective coatings on solar cells. Anti-reflective coatings are typically deposited via electron beam deposition, vacuum deposition, as well as sputtering. The need to switch to renewable energy and the increasing implementation of solar energy is driving the anti-reflective coatings.
The COVID-19 pandemic had economic repercussions impacting every sphere of life. The core industries such as aerospace, automotive, and building and construction were also not spared. Due to social distancing policy, most of the manufacturing plants of aircraft and automobiles were shut down, which led to a decline in the production of commercial aircraft and vehicles. For instance, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), the total production of vehicles declined by 16% in 2020. 77.62 million vehicles were produced in 2020 whereas 91.79 million vehicles were produced in 2019. According to the annual reports, in 2020, Boeing delivered 157 aircraft, compared to 380 and 806 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. In 2020, Airbus delivered 566 aircraft, due to COVID-19 deliveries were down from 863 and 800 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The pandemic also resulted in supply chain disruptions, shortages of components, and labor shortages. Thus, the problems faced by the aerospace and automotive industries also impacted the anti-reflective coatings market.
Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Segment Analysis – By Technology
The vacuum deposition segment held the largest share in the anti-reflective coatings market in 2021 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period. Anti-reflective coatings are used to reduce surface reflections and are commonly used on eyewear, lenses, and solar cells. It is a type of optical coating that can be deposited by electron beam deposition, vacuum deposition, sputtering, or other methods. Vacuum-based processes have traditionally been used for producing different types of anti-reflective coating. Vacuum deposition comprises many processes used to deposit layers at the atomic and molecular level under vacuum on a solid surface. In this process, the vaporized material directly reaches the substrate to cover it forming a thin film or coating. The vacuum increases the average distance that any molecule travels before it collides with another. Hence, the molecules can reach the lens without reacting with other molecules, and form a non-contaminated layer. This is the advantage that vacuum deposition has over other technologies, owing to which this technology is forecasted to dominate the anti-reflective coatings market.
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Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Segment Analysis – By End Use Industry
The consumer goods segment held a significant share in the anti-reflective coatings market in 2021 and is forecasted to rise at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period. Eyewear has been the largest market for anti-reflective coatings as it improves vision and reduces eye strain. The visual benefits of lenses with anti-reflective coating include sharper vision and greater comfort during prolonged computer use. Modern anti-reflective coatings on eyewear can virtually eliminate the reflection of light from eyeglass lenses, allowing 99.5% of available light to pass through the lenses and enter the eye for better vision. Anti-reflective coatings also reduce glare when driving at night. Night time driving is considered more dangerous than daytime driving, as many fatal accidents occur after dark. According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal accidents are three times more likely at night compared with the daytime. The most common problem faced by almost every driver at night is the glare from the headlights of a car coming from the other side which causes the driver to temporarily lose depth perception resulting in blurriness which can lead to accidents. According to Apollo Tyres, in India, 74% of vehicles use high beam lights that lead to tragic accidents. Eyewear with anti-reflective coating is particularly useful when driving at night to reduce the glare from vehicles. Anti-reflective coatings also find applications in surfaces that need to be reflection-free, for instance, in museums and jewelry showrooms, where they are used on display cases, frames of paintings or photographs, and exhibit cases. Therefore, the consumer goods segment is set to dominate the anti-reflective coatings market during the forecast period.
Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
The Asia-Pacific region held the largest share in the anti-reflective coatings market in 2021 up to 38%, owing to a large number of end use industries in the region. Asia is the world’s largest electronic products manufacturing and exporting region, on account of the region’s low labour costs, availability of skilled workers, trading access to Europe and America, and increasing foreign direct investment. It is expected that Asia’s electronics industry, led by China, India, South Korea, and Japan will continue to grow and further strengthen its position in the global market over the coming years. China is the leading consumer and producer of anti-reflective coatings in the Asia-Pacific region, due to its massive electronics base and manufacturing facilities of semiconductors. In India, the government introduced the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes for large-scale electronics manufacturing and IT hardware for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing exports. The Make in India and Digital India initiatives are further driving the market growth. According to Invest India, the export of electronic goods was valued at $1146.63 billion in August 2021 with a positive growth of 31.49% over exports of $872.04 billion in August 2020. According to the Trade Ministry, in South Korea, semiconductor exports rose in May 2020, and imports of equipment used in producing semiconductors surged 168%. The electronics industry in Asia was resilient during the pandemic, as companies adopt new technologies such as 5G, automation tools, and an exponential increase in sales of electronics, particularly, laptops, PCs, smartphones, and tablets due to work from home and online classes. After eyewear, the second-largest market for anti-reflective coatings is displays and screens. Therefore, the growth in the electronics sector also drives the growth of the anti-reflective coatings industry in the region.
Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Drivers
Implementation of Solar Energy
Concerns over depletion of fossil fuels, volatile crude oil prices, pollution, and global warming and driving the adoption of cleaner energy. In addition, the race to net-zero is leading to the widespread implementation of solar energy and wind energy. Governments all over the world are framing policies for the adoption of clean energy. A prime example of this is the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the aim of making the European Union (EU) climate neutral by 2050. The EU plans to finance the policies set out in the Green Deal through an investment plan – InvestEU, which forecasts at least €1 trillion in investment. Furthermore, for the EU to reach its goals set out in the deal, it is estimated that approximately €260 billion a year is going to be required by 2030 in investments. According to Eurostat, Solar is the fastest-growing energy source. The government of India launched various schemes to encourage the generation of solar power in the country like Solar Park Scheme, VGF Schemes, CPSU Scheme, Defence Scheme, Canal bank & Canal top Scheme, Bundling Scheme, Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Scheme, etc. According to the Australian Renewable Agency, solar photovoltaics generated approximately 10% of Australia’s electricity in 2020-21 and is the fastest-growing generation type in Australia. The most common form of solar photovoltaic (PV) cell is typically encased in glass and an aluminium frame to form a solar panel. Anti-reflective coatings on the solar panel’s glass improve the light transmittance and therefore increase the overall efficiency of the PV module. Another advantage is that the glare from the glass will be reduced. This allows the panels to be installed near airports without blinding the pilots. Hence, the implementation of solar energy acts as a driver for the anti-reflective coatings market.
Increasing Usage of Anti-Reflective in Electronics
Anti-reflective coatings greatly reduce the intensity and magnitude of light reflecting off an electronic device owing to which they are used in displays and screens. Large screen TVs are becoming increasingly popular. According to India’s consumer electronics leading retailer, Croma’s 2021 Unboxed report, in 2021, 55-inch screen size TVs clocked the highest growth, as home became the primary entertainment hub for families. More consumers are focusing on bigger screens, a trend that has become more prominent since the onset of the pandemic as people began spending more time indoors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the amount of time Americans spent engaged in leisure activities, including watching television, increased during the coronavirus pandemic to just over 5.5 hours per day from 5 hours in 2019. On account of the time spent watching TV, these huge flat display panels need an anti-reflective coating to allow for a pleasurable viewing experience. Companies are increasingly incorporating anti-reflective coatings in their products. For instance, Samsung announced that the latest models of The Frame, 4K QLED TV, in 2022, will have a matte, anti-reflective display with a lifelike texture that promises a realistic art gallery-like experience. Dell and HP have launched laptops that make use of anti-reflective technology. In July 2021, glassmaker Corning developed new Gorilla Glass DX and DX Plus glass composite covers for smartphone cameras. DX and DX Plus, thin layers created by fusing glass with coatings for antireflection, that are designed to work with lenses that use gorilla glass as the top cover layer. Samsung is said to be the first company to use Corning’s latest glass technology in its upcoming smartphones. Therefore, the increasing usage of anti-reflective coatings in electronics acts as a driver.
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Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Challenges
Lack of Awareness Regarding Anti-Reflective Coatings
Anti-reflective coatings are designed to decrease reflection and are used in various applications such as lenses, electronics, solar panels, and automotive. While the advantages of these coatings on eyewear are well known, there is a considerable dearth of awareness over its application in automotive and other sectors. Optical anti-reflection coatings applied to the windscreen can reduce the reflectivity of the windscreen thereby reducing veiling glare, the glare, or reflection of the interior from the windscreen back to the driver. Consumers want to upgrade to the latest automotive displays, including GPS, by addressing the need for larger screens, higher resolution, higher definition, and improved operability. Under such circumstances, the displays are required to provide high visibility to allow drivers to instantly obtain information for ensuring safe and comfortable driving. This creates a demand for reducing reflection from the displays. To reduce the reflection from the automotive displays, their outermost surfaces require anti-reflection coatings. This lack of awareness surrounding the applications of anti-reflective coatings in automotive applications can prove to be a challenge for the anti-reflective coatings industry.
Anti-Reflective Coatings Market Landscape
Product launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the Anti-Reflective Coatings Market. Anti-Reflective Coatings Market top companies are:
Carl Zeiss AG
El Du Pont de Nemours
Koninklijke DSM N.V.
Viavi Solutions, Inc.
Optical Coatings Japan
In May 2020, Hoya Vision Care announced the launch of Super HiVision EX3+ anti-reflective treatment in the US. Super HiVision EX3+ is the most durable anti-reflective treatment with the highest scratch resistance available.
Asia-Pacific dominates the anti-reflective coatings market, on account of a large number of end use industries in this region. According to Invest India, the electronics device industry in India is anticipated to reach $400 billion by 2025
Anti-reflective coating is a type of optical coating used to reduce reflection. It finds applications in eyewear, solar panels, and display among others.
Anti-reflective coatings are deposited using electron beam deposition, vacuum deposition, sputtering, sol-gel, or other technologies.
The major opportunity for this market is high research spending to develop cost-effective solutions.
Global Anti-Reflective Glass Market
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