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Thin, flexible or printed batteries have commercially existed for more than ten years. Traditionally, the micro-power thin and printed batteries were used in skin patches, RFID tags and smart cards. Today, however, the composition of the target market is undergoing drastic change driven by the emergence of new addressable applications including wearable electronic devices and the Internet of Things – both of which demand thinness and flexibility. This trend has enticed many large players to enter the foray, starting to transform a business landscape that was once populated predominantly by small firms.
The change in target markets is inevitably driving change in the technology landscape too; this means that the market in 2026 will look vastly different from that in 2014. Current major contributors today will play a small roll in ten years’ time, while new segments and technology will grow to dominate this sector.
Stretchable batteries and lithium-ion batteries with special form factors are good candidates for wearable and flexible devices, but they are not truly flexible. Batteries can be made flexible if they are thin enough. However, for a fixed battery system, thinness will reduce capacity. Truly flexible batteries have a long way to go, although we have seen some prototypes.
The IDTechEx Research report “Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2015-2025: Technologies, Forecasts, Players” provides detailed technology assessment and benchmarking, with ten-year market forecasts segmented by 12 application sectors (including RFID, wireless sensors, smart packaging, medical devices, interactive media, portable electronics and more) and the following technology types:
- Printed battery
- Ultra-thin lithium battery
- Thin-film lithium polymer battery
- Lithium-ion battery with special features
- Thin flexible supercapacitor
IDTechEx has undertaken 35 direct interviews and visits with key suppliers and large end-users from a variety of sectors, and also describes an additional 60 companies. This is combined with years of accumulated experience and market knowledge for the end-use applications. The analyst team working on this project is highly technical, enabling it to fully understand the merits and challenges of each technology in this complex landscape.