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SPIE: photonics market generates $156 billion in revenue

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Companies provide 700,000 jobs, and produce materials, LEDs, lasers, detectors, image sensors and more

New data on the size of the global photonics market developed by SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) suggests that it generates $156 billion in revenues.

The findings, presented last week by SPIE industry and market strategist Steve Anderson, at the annual meeting of New York Photonics (NYP), were that the core photonics components market comprises 2,750 companies in 46 countries. These companies provide 700,000 jobs, and produce materials, LEDs, lasers, detectors, image sensors, lenses, prisms, optical filters, gratings, fiber optics, and other photonic components.

Study results aggregated photonics company sales and employee data using information from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) as well as public information combined with regional statistical benchmarks derived from the SPIE team's analysis of D&B data. 

For companies not reporting to D&B, the team did an in-depth review of data that seemed out of range, and prorated revenue and employment based on estimates of actual photonics-related sales. Companies with total sales of less than $10 million were assumed to 100 percent photonics

The numbers on the worldwide photonics core components market were the second phase in an ongoing SPIE initiative. The first phase was announced at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, California, last February, and reported similar data for 1,008 of the more than 1,500 exhibiting companies at this year's BiOS Expo and Photonics West Exhibition.

The SPIE analytics team's next project will focus on the size of photonics-enabled markets worldwide.

The impact of being able to provide policy makers in particular with estimates about the jobs and revenue generated by the photonics industry is evident in regions such as Europe, where photonics has been identified as one of six Key Enabling Technologies (KET), Anderson said.

The KET recognition has helped pave the way for photonics projects to apply for major funding initiatives, and has helped raise the profile of the field among young people planning their careers.

Anderson will present the report next in France this week during the second annual LAPHIA International Symposium, to be held at the Institut d'Optique d'Aquitaine, Université de Bordeaux, 8-12 September 2014.

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