IDTechEx releases ‘Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033’ report

The report explores crucial material technology for print electronics

Conductive ink types include flake-based silver, nanoparticle-based silver, copper, stretchable/thermoformable, and particle-free. Photo unsplash

IDTechEx’s newly released report ‘Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033’ comprehensively explores the crucial material technology that underpins both photovoltaics and the emerging field of printed electronics, based on interviews with over 30 companies, the report assesses the market for each of the 8 different conductive ink types across 15 different applications. 

Conductive ink types by IDTechEx include flake-based silver, nanoparticle-based silver, copper, stretchable/thermoformable, and particle-free, while applications include photovoltaics, multiple types of printed sensors, flexible hybrid electronics (FHE), in-mold electronics (IME), and RFID/smart packaging. This detailed segmentation provides 39 distinct forecast lines, providing a clear picture of the status of the market for each ink type and future opportunities. 

The market as a whole is currently valued at US$2.7 billion and is forecast to grow to US$4.5 billion by 2033, with all this growth coming from emerging applications across printed/flexible/wearable electronics rather than from silicon photovoltaics. Primary insight from interviews with individual players, ranging from established players to innovative start-ups, is included via over 30 detailed company profiles that include discussion of both technology and business model along with SWOT analysis. 

Conductive ink types and applications covered in the report. Source: IDTechEx

Additionally, the IDtechEx report includes analysis of conductive ink parameter space based on a database of over 100 conductive inks that includes curing time, conductivity, and viscosity. Together with the segmentation of suppliers by ink type, this should assist in gaining a comprehensive picture of the global conductive ink market.

Technical Developments

Flake-based conductive inks are a longstanding technology widely used for metalizing the upper surface of photovoltaic panels for charge extraction. However, this market is unlikely to keep up with the growth in PV panels, with new technologies developing to reduce the amount of silver ink required. Instead, much of the growth will come from emerging applications across the printed flexible electronics space. 

Application Opportunities

As a platform technology for printed electronics, conductive inks can be utilized in a remarkably wide range of applications, spanning market verticals ranging from healthcare to energy. Due to the potential for both rapid growth and specialist ink requirements enabling differentiation, some of the most promising conductive ink applications are electronic skin patches, strain sensors, and in-mold electronics (IME).


The growth in printed/flexible/hybrid electronics, especially where it enables new applications and even business models, such as electronic skin patches for remote health monitoring and smart packaging, will drive the growth of the conductive ink market over the next decade. Furthermore, many emerging applications, such as in-mold electronics, e-textiles, and high-frequency antennas, have specific ink requirements that provide an opportunity for differentiation.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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