The global capacitive sensor market has been showing a fairly good growth over the past decade and this growth is expected to remain decent throughout the forecast period. The global demand for capacitive sensors is majorly attributed to growing production of smartphones worldwide. While some developed countries like the United States and some European countries already have a fairly high penetration of these devices, which is one of the major reasons behind their shrinking sales across them, developing economies are witnessing a significantly high growth in adoption of these gadgets. According to a report from Accenture, more than 450 million smartphones were sold in China in 2016, and sales of these gadgets have remained good since then. Growing middle class Chinese population is one of the biggest contributors to this growth trajectory.
According to a data from the Direct China Chamber of Commerce (DCCC), middle class population in China is expected to expand from 430 million in 2019 to 780 million by 2025. Not just China, increasing middle class in many countries is supporting the sales of smartphones across them. We estimate global penetration of smartphones to be around 50% now, and this is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Since smartphone manufacturers have been focusing on improving the quality of touch, and thus, the overall user experience, high quality capacitive sensors are witnessing a high demand across them. Even in regions with shrinking sales of new smartphones, aftermarket has the potential to continue supporting the growth of this market. Components like touch panels are expected to continue to remain in high demand on account of increasing number of smartphone damages worldwide. Although smartphone manufacturers promise robust displays, which can withstand impacts of fairly high magnitude, number of instances of display damage continues to remain high. Increasing demand for such components in the after market will continue to spur the growth of capacitive sensor market.
However, market growth for these sensors is being hindered by the presence of alternatives in the market. Resistive touch continues to be a widely used alternative to capacitive sensors, and this technology hold a fairly large share in the overall touch screen sensors market. Both the glass panel and the film screen in a 5-Wire resistive touch module have a covering of thin metallic layer which is separated by a gap. As the user touches the screen, the two layers come in contact. The resulting flow of electricity, and change in voltage, is what makes these displays work. Since these are robust in nature, which means these are resistant to many of the most common surface contaminants like dust, moisture and grease among others, these remain in high demand across industrial sectors.
Furthermore, their low cost and low power consumption, coupled with their ability to get activated by any object (including fingers), industrial sectors are showing a high adoption of them, thus affecting the market for capacitive sensors. Yet, pumping of huge investments by capacitive sensor market players into research and development have been adding strength to their position in the market. Projected capacitive touch, for instance, offers combined benefits of surface touch and resistive touch. While it offers very high image clarity, which is one of the major benefits of surface capacitive, its ability to get activated through surgical gloves and thin gloves made of cotton has been making it very popular among end users. Furthermore, multi-touch activation offered by this capacitive touch has been increasing its adoption among many end users, especially industrial players. Rapid growth of industries like healthcare, which are showing high adoption of digital technologies, is one of the major driving factors for this market. As integration of technology in healthcare infrastructure continues to increase, and huge investments into R&D continue to flow, advanced solutions are entering the market, which support the growth of capacitive technology.
For instance, as most of the EHR systems do not fulfil the requirement of the doctor/patient relationship, Spanish healthcare professionals have been working on a number of projects with Fujitsu Laboratories in Europe to use advanced technologies across the sector. As a result, Fujitsu has brought into market an AI solution, combined with natural language processing with deep learning that automates medical coding of unstructured data to improve the management of EHR (electronic health record) systems and thus, improving the clinical decision-making process. Quibim is also using advanced digital technologies in its €10 million EU-funded PRIMAGE project. The company is researching on AI technology that can help visualize tumor growth with extreme precision while helping to tailor therapy to each individual patient. Since such applications require very high clarity display, and touch technologies which can add to the convenience, demand for capacitive touch sensors is also growing, thus fueling the growth of Capacitive Sensor Market.
Recent outbreak of novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, to almost every major country across the globe, can be seen opening doors to immense growth opportunities for this market. The disease, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is a highly contagious disease, and has infected more than 5 million people worldwide. Since healthcare providers are at a very high risk of contracting this disease, technologies which can facilitate delivery of high quality patient care with minimum risk to healthcare workers are gaining traction. Projected capacitive touch displays are becoming even more popular among healthcare providers. Since these displays can be operated even while wearing surgical gloves, or thin cotton gloves, doctors and nurses can use them for various applications without any risk of contracting disease through them. Very high quality graphics supported by these displays also make them a preferred choice for many healthcare providers.
The key players in the market are investing heavily into research and development in order to develop more efficient and new products for the purpose of expanding their product offerings. Also, investments into facility expansion and into partnerships and agreements are also supporting the market growth. As these continue, we expect a solid growth of the global capacitive sensor market over the projected period.