Growth in emerging print electronic applications is driving growth

BostonAnd the November 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — IDTechEx’s newly released “Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033” report comprehensively explores this critical physical technology underpinning both photovoltaics and the emerging field of printed electronics. Based on interviews with more than 30 companies, the report assesses the market for each of the eight different types of inks across 15 different applications. Types of conductive inks include silver foil-based, silver nanoparticle-based, copper, stretchable/thermoformable, and particle-free, while applications include photovoltaics, multiple types of printed sensors, flexible hybrid electronics (FHE), and electronics within Template (IME), and RFID/Smart Packaging. This detailed segmentation provides 39 distinct lines of forecasting, which provides a clear picture of the market situation for each type of ink and future opportunities. The market as a whole is currently being evaluated 2.7 billion US dollars It is expected to grow to 4.5 billion US dollars By 2033, all of this growth is coming from emerging applications via printed/flexible/wearable electronics rather than silicon photovoltaics.

Types of conductive ink and applications covered in the report.  Source: IDTechEx

Types of conductive ink and applications covered in the report. Source: IDTechEx

Key insights from interviews with individual players, ranging from established players to innovative startups, are embedded across more than 30 detailed company profiles that include discussion of both technology and business model along with a SWOT analysis. Additionally, the report includes an analysis of the conductive ink parameter space based on a database of more than 100 conductive inks that includes curing time, conductivity, and viscosity. Along with segmenting the suppliers by ink type, this should help in getting a comprehensive picture of the global Conductive Ink market.

Technical developments

Shell-based conductive inks are an old technology widely used to mine the top surface of photovoltaic panels for charge extraction. However, this market is unlikely to keep pace with the growth in photovoltaic panels, with new technologies being developed to reduce the amount of silver ink required. Instead, much of the growth will come from emerging applications across the printed flexible electronics space.

This expansion of application space creates opportunities for emerging conductive ink formulations that aim to meet specific application requirements:

  • The particle-free conductive inks are mined on site, resulting in a smooth, thin conductive layer that is ideally suited for antennas and high-frequency EMI shielding. The extremely low viscosity also makes these inks ideally suited for high resolution deposition techniques such as aerosol printing.

  • Conductive inks based on nanoparticles provide higher conductivity, enabling more integrated circuit designs.

  • Liquid metal gels make for a perfect stretchable ink because there is no increase in resistance over time – the conductive liquid flows to accommodate dimensional change. It mainly targets wearable stress sensors.

  • Copper inks with additives that prevent oxidation during sintering. Those are gaining momentum, with major electronics manufacturers running requalification projects. Copper inks are particularly suitable when cost is the main driver, such as with smart packaging/RFID antennas.

Application opportunities

As a platform technology for printed electronics, conductive inks can be used in a remarkably wide range of applications, covering market segments ranging from healthcare to energy. This report divides the conductive ink application area into 15 segments, each defining:

  • Introduction to the application.

  • Assessment of the technological and business situation.

  • Conductive ink requirements for this specific application.

  • Examples of conductive inks targeted for this application.

  • Market forecasts, including adoption of different types of ink where applicable.

Given the potential for rapid growth and the requirement for specialized ink that enables differentiation, some of the most promising conductive ink applications are electronic skin patches, stress sensors, and in-mold electronics (IME).


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. Moreover, many emerging applications, such as in-mold electronics, electronic textiles, and high-frequency antennas, have specific ink requirements that provide an opportunity for differentiation.

Key questions are answered in this report

  • What kinds of conductive inks does each supplier produce?

  • How will the rise in silver prices affect the conductive ink market?

  • What are the requirements for each conductive ink application and how much ink is used in each application?

  • What is the technological and market readiness for each conductive ink application?

  • What are the key growth opportunities where there is room for differentiation?

  • Who are the major players producing each type of ink?

IDTechEx has 20 years of experience covering printed and flexible electronics, including conductive inks. IDTechEx analysts closely follow the latest developments in technology and associated markets by interviewing many suppliers and users of conductive inks and attending several printed electronics conferences such as LOPEC and FLEX annually. This report presents a complete picture of the landscape of fractionated conductive ink, aiding product development and positioning.

To learn more about IDTechEx’s new report “Conductivity Ink Markets 2023-2033,” including downloadable sample pages, please visit

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