US demand for chemical sensors is projected to exceed $6billion in 2014

Paul Boughton

US demand for chemical sensors is projected to grow 8.9 per cent per year to $6.1billion in 2014. Biosensors will continue to be the largest type of chemical sensor, as the increasing number of diagnosed diabetics boosts demand for glucose test strips.

Overall growth will be supported by recovery in automobile manufacturing and process industries; by technological advances that allow for price reduction and greater precision, which will expand the use of chemical sensors into new markets; and by new applications within existing markets.

Demand for chemical sensors based on emerging technologies, such as optical sensors, will see fast gains. Although the largest end use will remain the medical market, growth will be strong in all chemical sensor outlets, which also include industrial and environmental monitoring applications. These and other trends are presented in Chemical Sensors, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc, a Cleveland, US-based industry market research firm.

Through 2014, electrochemical sensors are expected to see the fastest growth, with demand reflecting recovery in manufacturing - particularly new motor vehicle production - following the significant downturn beginning in late 2007. Optical sensors, including products based on infrared, fibre optic, photoionisation, fluorescence, chemiluminescence, light-emitting diode, laser and ultraviolet technologies, will also see substantial gains. Optical sensors will continue to benefit from their high sensitivity, stability, immunity to interference, and product improvements such as smaller size and enhanced ruggedness. Biosensors are expected to provide good opportunities as well. Sales will be boosted by the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the population and by growing demand for home and point-of-care testing and monitoring tools.

The large automotive sensor market will post growth due to a rebound in motor vehicle production.

Fierce competition among suppliers will put downward pressure on prices as manufacturers strive to capture or maintain market share

 Table: US Chemical Sensor Demand (million dollars)     
                                           Per centage annual growth  
Item         2004   2009   2014  2004- 2009   2009- 2014   
Chemical Sensor Demand    2903  3990   6115   6.6     8.9   
Biosensors  1855   2950   4410   9.7     8.4   
Electrochemical Sensors   825  730   1210   -2.4   10.6  
Optical Sensors  120   165   260   6.6     9.5   
Other  103   145   235   7.1  10.1   
Source: The Freedonia Group, Inc.
Chemical Sensors (published 01/2011, 326 pages) is available for $4,800 from The Freedonia Group.