The approximately 1000 German photonics companies achieved a turnover of 34.8 billion euros in 2017, and according to preliminary projections by the Spectaris Association, an increase of six to eight percent was achieved in 2018.
The manufacturers are also generally optimistic about the current year. In their forecasts for the coming years, various market research institutes are assuming an annual growth of the global photonics market in the order of seven percent.
In the area of industrial laser processing and laser lithography alone, "Laser Markt Research" expects global growth of more than five percent to 6.1 billion US dollars in 2018. "German laser manufacturers play a major role in this," emphasizes Justus Wehmer, Chairman of the Spectaris Photonics Association. "They produce around one-sixth of the world's industrial lasers.”
The importance of the German photonics industry on an international level is also reflected at the leading trade fair "Photonics West": The fair brings together around 20,000 participants and 1,400 exhibitors in California. With more than 160 companies, Germany will have the largest number of exhibitors after the host USA. "This demonstrates the important market position of the German companies," says Wehmer. "With an average export quota of around 72 percent, however, German photonics companies also strongly depend on the international market.
The motor for the good development of the industry is therefore the foreign business. "Around 47 percent of exports go to countries of the European Union, almost 25 percent to Asia, and around 13 percent to North America," explains Spectaris managing director Jörg Mayer. "Against this backdrop, the industry is concerned about the increasing trend towards protectionism.