OE-A Business Climate Survey – Partly sunny skies for printed electronics industry


“For 2022 we have an expected sales revenue of plus 13 percent for the flexible and printed electronics industry. The outlook for 2023 is even more positive, with an expected increase of 24 percent. This is the highest figure since this business climate survey was initiated in 2014,” reviews Dr Klaus Hecker, OE-A managing director, the results of the latest business climate survey. A biannual survey conducted by OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association), a Working Group within VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association). “But if the skies of our industry are really sunny or rather cloudy, the next months will show. Challenges in the supply chain, rising energy costs, inflation and the Russian war in Ukraine are adding uncertainty to the pleasing forecast,” adds Klaus Hecker.

With a turnover sales forecast of +13 percent for 2022 the result of the previous forecast from February 2022 (+ 12 percent) is validated. Nevertheless, the Russian war has its impact on the flexible and printed electronics industry. More than two thirds (68 percent) of the companies state that they were negatively affected by the war in Ukraine. Nearly every company in the above two-thirds says it endures supply chain disruptions and a price increase.

Particularly challenging to source for the printed electronics (PE) Industry are electronic components, chemicals, and metals. The respondents do not expect the situation to improve in the next 6 months. This is especially challenging for printed electronics since the main targeted end user industries are consumer electronics, automotive, medical & pharmaceutical and building & architecture.

Another preoccupying situation is the slower recovery of the markets and customer demand. Compared to the survey in February 2022, fewer companies have noticed a recovery in demand for the business in Europe and North America. More companies than in the previous survey (27 percent compared to 24 percent) used or plan to use government and Corona support programmes. “For the Asian continent the demand revival is expected to take even longer. This is tough for our industry and clouds the bright outlook of +24 percent sales growth along the entire value chain for 2023,” explains Klaus Hecker.

Despite all ambiguities 2023 will be a promising year for the flexible and printed electronics industry with respect to investments in production and R&D. More than 75 percent of the surveyed companies will increase investing in production and R&D activities in the upcoming half year. Furthermore, the employment situation is also encouraging: 88 percent of the responding companies plan for a stable employment situation, with 12 percent planning to increase their staff. “Despite all difficulties and hurdles in the next months the PE industry will continue to bloom and grow. Our industry’s superpower is a certain resilience and innovative strength, and I am looking forward to seeing the latest product innovations at electronica and LOPEC 2023,” summarises Hecker.

Caption: Expected sales revenue for 2022 and 2023 (graphic: OE-A)

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