Market Data and Industry Report (2020)

OPEN ACCESS - English version

European photonics industry growing at more than 

double global GDP rate, new analysis finds 

New research shows European photonics is growing at more than double the rate of global GDP – outperforming EU GDP and EU industrial production by three and five times, respectively. Present in many high-end, next-generation products, photonics technologies have proved to be long-term drivers of growth through their indispensable role in future markets. 

Photonics – the technology and science of light – is one of the most resilient and fast-growing industries in Europe, outperforming many other market segments according to the new ‘Market Research Study – Photonics 2020’ by deep technology research group Tematys. Key to several mega markets – including Industry 4.0, Digitisation, Quantum, AI, IoT – European photonics have enabled many market segments and applications to flourish ranging from Space, Healthcare, Environment, and Defence to Security Telecoms.

The study delivered a glowing report on European photonics from 2015 to 2019: the industry grew at a CAGR of 7% per year and was worth €103 billion at the latest count in 2019.   

The report is an innitiative of The European Technology Platform Photonics21.


Table of contents

1  What is photonics?  

2  Photonics is critical for Europe’s strategic value chains  

2.1  Green deal  

2.2  Digitisation of manufacturing and society  

2.3  Health and well-being  

2.4  Sovereignty  

3  The specificities of the photonics industry   

3.1  The origin of the photonics industry  

3.2  First specificity: photonics is deeply transverse   

3.3  Second specificity: photonics is a slow maturing market  

3.4  Third specificity: the emergence of mass customisation – an opportunity for Europe   

3.5  Fourth specificity: no strong photonics industry without a strong photonics research   

4  The European photonics industry is growing fast and is competitive  

5  Conclusion: Investing in photonics is very profitable for Europe, states and regions   

6  Appendix A: Green deal  

7  Appendix B: Digitisation of manufacturing and society  

8  Appendix C: Health and well-being  

9  Appendix D: Sovereignty  

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