OE-A Business Climate Survey – Printed Electronics Industry Proves Resilience


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“Our industry has proved to be resilient in the last year. The positive trend which we have seen at the beginning of this year has stabilized”, reviews Dr. Klaus Hecker, OE-A Managing Director, the results of the latest business climate survey. A biannual survey was conducted by OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association), a Working Group within VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association). Twice a year, OE-A members – from material suppliers to end users – are asked to provide qualitative data on the state of the industry and their expected sales development. These surveys shed light on the anticipated growth of the flexible, organic, and printed electronics industry. 

OE-A expects 13% sales growth for 2021 compared to 2020

In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic acted as a setback for the flexible and printed electronics industry, but the industry has largely recovered this year. More than 80 % of the survey participants expect the printed electronics industry to grow in 2021. With an expected 13 percent sales revenue growth, the PE community turns out to be slightly more optimistic compared to their forecast from spring 2021 (in February 2021, a growth of 11 percent was forecasted).

Companies see an increasing recovery in customer demand, especially in Europe and the US, while the Asian market remains more challenging. For 2022 a continuation of this positive trend is anticipated and a “back to normal” business is likely by summer. The companies expect a stable growth in revenue of 14 percent in 2022. This growth is expected along the entire value chain.

“These good prospects are only clouded by the supply chain challenges. Lockdowns caused significant supply-side disruptions, even post Covid, companies will also be confronted with challenges in the global value chain. Especially the tense situation in the supply of chips, materials, and components for our major user industries, have prevented an even better forecast.”, adds Dr. Klaus Hecker. Among the most important user industries for printed electronics applications are top rated Consumer Electronics, Automotive and Medical & Pharmaceutical

Investments and R&D grease the wheels

Furthermore, the employment situation is also encouraging: 77 percent of the responding companies plan for a stable employment situation, with 23 percent planning to increase their staff. According to the survey, the investment situation is very promising, more than 85 percent of the survey participants plan to increase their investment in production in the upcoming 6 months, emphasizing the positive outlook. Almost three quarters of the companies stated to increase their R&D activities over the next six months. “I take these as very good signs for our industry. Continuous research work and investment in production will strengthen and foster our industry’s innovative power”, summarizes Dr. Klaus Hecker.

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