Conductive Ink Markets: Growth of Emerging Printed Electronic Applications Driving Growth

Conductive Ink Markets: Growth of Emerging Printed Electronic Applications Driving Growth

BOSTON, November 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — IDTechEx’s recently released report “Conductive Ink Markets 2023-2033” explores in detail this crucial hardware 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 8 different types of conductive inks in 15 different applications. Types of conductive inks include flake-based silver, nanoparticle-based silver, copper, stretchable/thermoformable and particle-free, while applications include photovoltaics, several types of printed sensors, electronics flexible hybrid (FHE), electronics in mold (IME), and RFID/smart packaging. This detailed segmentation provides 39 distinct forecast lines, providing a clear picture of the market status for each type of ink and future opportunities. The market as a whole is currently valued at US$2.7 billion and should reach US$4.5 billion by 2033, all of this growth coming from emerging applications in printed/flexible/wearable electronics rather than silicon photovoltaics.

Key insights from interviews with individual players, ranging from established players to innovative start-ups, are included via over 30 detailed company profiles that include a discussion of technology and business model as well as a SWOT analysis. Additionally, the report includes an analysis of the conductive ink parameter space based on a database of over 100 conductive inks which includes cure time, conductivity and viscosity. Along with vendor segmentation by ink type, this should help in getting a complete picture of the global Conductive Inks market.

Technical developments

Flake-based conductive inks are a long-standing technology widely used to metallize the top surface of photovoltaic panels for charge extraction. However, this market is unlikely to keep up with the growth of photovoltaic panels, as new technologies are developed to reduce the amount of silver ink needed. Instead, much of the growth will come from emerging applications in the printed flexible electronics space.

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

  • The particle-free conductive inks are metallized in situ, producing a thin, smooth conductive layer that is ideal for high frequency EMI shielding and antennas. The very low viscosity also makes these inks ideal for high resolution deposition techniques such as aerosol printing.
  • Nanoparticle-based conductive inks offer higher conductivity, allowing for more compact circuit designs.
  • Liquid metal gel makes an ideal stretchable ink because there is no increase in resistance over time – the conductive liquid flows to accommodate the dimensional change. It is mainly intended for wearable strain sensors.
  • Copper-based inks with additives that prevent oxidation during sintering. These are growing in popularity, with major electronics manufacturers conducting qualification projects. Copper inks are particularly suitable where cost is the main factor, such as RFID/smart packaging antennas.

Application Opportunities

As a technology platform for printed electronics, conductive inks can be used in a remarkably wide range of applications, spanning vertical markets from healthcare to energy. This report divides the conductive ink application space into 15 segments, each describing:

  • Presentation of the app.
  • Evaluation of the technological and commercial state.
  • Conductive ink requirements for this specific application.
  • Examples of conductive inks targeting this application.
  • Market forecasts, including adoption of different ink types, if any.

Due to the rapid growth potential and need for specialized inks to enable differentiation, some of the most promising conductive ink applications are electronic skin patches, strain sensors, and electronics in mold (IME).


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

Key questions answered by this report

  • What types of conductive inks are produced by each supplier?
  • How will rising silver prices impact the conductive ink market?
  • What are the requirements for each conductive ink application and how much ink is used in each?
  • What is the technological and commercial maturity of each conductive ink application?
  • What are the key growth opportunities where there is room for differentiation?
  • Who are the main players producing each type of ink?

IDTechEx has 20 years of expertise covering printed and flexible electronics, including conductive inks. IDTechEx analysts closely follow the latest developments in technology and associated markets by interviewing numerous suppliers and users of conductive inks and by attending several printed electronics conferences such as LOPEC and FLEX each year. This report provides a comprehensive picture of the fragmented Conductive Inks landscape, helping to inform product development and positioning.

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

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