Flexible Glass Market By Application (Lighting, Display, Sensors, Energy Storage, Automotive), By Technology (Down-Draw, Float Glass) - Growth, Future Prospects & Competitive Analysis, 2017 – 2025

Flexible glass is defined as glass possessing a minimum thickness of 25 micrometers (microns). These are also known as "innovative glasses," as they are thinner and more flexible than human hair. Flexible glass is preferred over plastics, metals, and silicon owing to its optical quality, surface quality, thermal capability, hermeticity, chemical compatibility, and dimensional stability. The development of flexible glass has greatly generated interest among industry players and prompted further research and development for flexible electronics, photovoltaics, and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Therefore, rapid advancements in technology are likely to change next-generation technologies due to the ongoing applications of flexible glass in e-paper, OLED lighting, and roll-to-roll displays.

On the basis of application, the global flexible glass market is categorized into lighting, display, sensors, energy storage, and automotive. In 2016, the display segment was expected to account for the majority of the total flexible glass market by volume. The display segment is expected to dominate owing to its rapid demand in smartphones owing to its slim and scratch-resistant properties. When compared to rigid glass, its lightweight and low-cost applications enhance its application in the mobile and computing sectors. The recent incorporation of flexible glass in solar PV panels acts as a lucrative opportunity for the market. Recent innovations in flexible glass are expected to lead to the formation of foldable smartphones in the near future. Flexible glass witnesses rapid applications as altering the molecular properties further enhance its brittleness, thereby leading to the formation of a new breed of glass. However, the high cost associated with the manufacturing of these glasses is expected to restrain the market growth.

Geographically, North America is expected to dominate market growth due to rapid advancements in manufacturing technology. The recent development of foldable mobile phones and wearable electronics in clothing has further augmented the market's growth. The flexible glass market in the Asia Pacific is also expected to witness the fastest growth rate due to rapid demand for improved quality electronic products such as smart watches, smartphones, and others. Growing research and development activities and technological advancements in manufacturing technologies are some of the other factors expected to spur market growth. Apart from that, the advent of new flexible and rollable glass products by key manufacturers such as Corning Inc. and Asahi Glass Co. is another significant factor that makes market competition intense. Another factor driving market demand is the increasing use of solar glass in developing regions, such as the incorporation of solar cells for shading high-rise building glass facades. Collectively, the aforementioned factors are expected to spur market growth.

Some of the key players operating in the market include Asahi Glass, Dow Corning, LG Display Co., Ltd., Nippon Electric Glass, SCHOTT AG, Dupont Display, Sony Corporation, LiSEC Group, Kent Displays, Abrisa Technologies, and other notable players.

On the basis of its applications, the global flexible glass market is categorized into the following segments:

  • Lighting
  • Display
  • Sensors
  • Energy Storage
  • Automotive
  • Others

Flexible glass is also known as ultra-thin glass. It has similar properties to rigid glass, such as higher performance, higher temperature, greater robustness, and higher transparency. Corning, a global glass leader, has conducted research and development to test the usability of flexible glass on printed electronics. And the results have led to the formation of flexible glass, which exhibits the performance of glass along with the flexibility of plastic. Moreover, increasing demand among consumers for portable electronics where energy efficiency, durability, and lightweight are musts has further led to the emergence of new display technologies such as flexible glass. In 2016, display applications dominated the flexible glass market and were expected to maintain their dominance throughout the forecast period.

This glass is being used in broad electronic applications such as displays, solar cells, and roll-to-roll systems to print newspapers. Apart from this, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED), which have emerged as a recent display technology, have gained significance in lighting panels due to their light, thin, and shatterproof properties. The incorporation of flexible OLEDs (which have a substrate consisting of plastic, metal, or flexible glass) in mobile devices and TVs has further sparked the growth of the market. In addition, the rapid demand for smartphones, smart gadgets, and tablets globally has further enhanced the application of flexible glass.

Energy storage applications are expected to grow at a rapid pace owing to surging applications of flexible glass in high-power applications. Flexible glass is widely utilized for photovoltaic panels, wind turbine generators, and aerospace electronics. Certain players have discarded the use of conventional fragile glasses and have incorporated the use of flexible glass sheets on solar cells to form flexible solar products. The flexibility of these solar products has further led to the easy and cost-effective installation of solar panels on rooftop applications, such as by gluing panels on the roof. Rising demand for solar energy has further escalated the need for solar panels, which is also a major factor stimulating market growth.

On the basis of its technology, the global flexible glass market is categorized into the following segments:

  • Down-Draw
  • Float Glass

Flexible glass is a thin glass varying in thickness from 1.1 mm down to 25 micrometers. Flexible glass exhibits good surface quality, better optical transmission, and hermeticity. Lightweight, ultrathin, and high-performance flexible electronics, such as photovoltaics, touch sensors, and displays, are becoming increasingly popular among industry players. Therefore, the increased demand for high-quality devices requires high-throughput production methods. The discovery of ultra-slim flexible glass has further elevated the optical transmission characteristics of flexible glass. The optical transmission of flexible glass, for example, is limited to 4% surface reflection loss with no scattering or haze. The improvement in device design and performance with increased process optimization and manufacturing yield has further enabled high resolution in the flexible glass.

The introduction of down-draw technology has led to the increased manufacturing of thin and ultra-thin flexible glass. This process fabricates touch screens and glass wafers to be deployed in wafer-level packaging of semiconductor devices as well as camera image sensors. Currently, this process is expected to register a major share of the market as it rapidly incorporates different types of glass, which are further processed to yield highly flexible thin glass. An increase in demand for flexible thin glass in consumer electronics such as laptops, tablets, and TVs are expected to drive the market in the coming years. Float glass is another method utilized for the production of flexible glass. The floated glass method leads to the formation of distortion-free flat glass, which is increasingly used for windows. Additionally, flexible float glass is essentially used for aesthetic applications in buildings as it provides an attractive exterior surface, which is further expected to augment market growth.

Based on geography, the global flexible glass market is segmented into the following regions and countries:

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • Italy
    • U.K.
    • Russia
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
    • India
    • China
    • Japan
    • Rest of Asia-Pacific
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Middle East and Africa
    • GCC Countries
    • South Africa
    • Rest of Middle East and Africa

In 2016, North America was the largest market, as the U.S. is the largest consumer of flexible glass, owing to higher demand for smart electronics. There is an increasing demand for flexible displays in North America owing to their widespread application in wearable devices, smartphones, televisions, and military equipment, which is expected to penetrate the market in the coming years. However, Asia-Pacific is expected to grow at a rapid pace throughout the forecasted period owing to changing lifestyles, the acceptance of western culture, wide-scale industrialization, and a growing population. The rapid adoption of western culture has raised awareness among consumers about the need for better-quality electronic gadgets such as smart watches, smartphones, and cell phones. Increasing research and development activities in developing regions such as China and India by multiple display manufacturers has further led to the advancement of flexible display technology, which is poised to drive market growth. For instance, Samsung is currently involved in producing flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) in order to cater to the growing consumer demand for mobile phones and wearable technologies. Growing consumption of lightweight, handy, and attractive electronic gadgets in Asian economies is further expected to stimulate market growth.

Additionally, Moxi Group, a Chinese company, has innovated a flexible phone that can be easily worn on the wrist like a watch. Furthermore, increasing demand for smartphones and tablets is another factor contributing to market growth.

Frequently Asked Question:

The market for Flexible Glass Market is expected to reach USD$ XX Mn in 2025.

The Flexible Glass Market is expected to see significant CAGR growth over the coming years, at 11.3 %.

The report is forecasted from 2017 -2025.

The base year of this report is 2016.

Honeywell International, Inc., Infineon Technologies AG, Siemens AG, General Electric (GE) Company, ABB Ltd., Electro-Sensors, Inc., Pepperl+Fuchs GmbH, NOHKEN, Inc. are some of the major players in the global market.

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Published Date:  Dec 2017
Category:  Advanced Materials
Report ID:   58910
Report Format:   PDF
Pages:   120
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