OE-A business climate survey – silver linings for printed electronics industry


“We are ready to move forward,” summarises Stan Farnsworth, chair of the OE-A board and chief marketing officer of NovaCentrix, characterising the results of the latest OE-A Business Climate Survey. After a difficult period in 2020 the flexible and printed electronics industry is recovering from the effects of the pandemic. The vast majority of the survey participants expect the printed electronics industry to grow in 2021. The semi-annual business climate survey by OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association), a working group within VDMA, sheds light on the anticipated growth of the organic and printed electronics industry. During each survey, OE-A members – from material suppliers to end users – are asked to provide qualitative data on the state of the industry and their expected sales development.

After a substantial decline of sales revenues in 2020 due to the Corona crisis, the recovery of the printed electronics industry is gaining momentum. Even so 85 percent noticed the negative impact of the pandemic, almost two thirds of the survey participants expect the printed electronics industry to grow in 2021.

With an expected 11 percent sales revenue growth, the PE community turns out to be more optimistic compared to their forecast from autumn 2020 (in October 2020, a growth of 7 percent was forecasted). For 2022, a continuation of this positive trend within the organic and printed electronics industry is anticipated. The companies aim for further development and a stable growth in revenue of 13 percent. This growth is expected along the entire value chain.

“We are happy to see from the survey that the industry remains resilient. Companies are keeping up their plans to invest in production this year,” adds Stan Farnsworth. More than three-quarters of the survey participants plan investments in the upcoming 6 months, emphasising a positive outlook. Furthermore, according to the survey, the employment situation is also encouraging: 77 percent of the responding companies plan for a stable employment situation, with 23 percent planning to increase their staff. The most important user industries for printed electronics applications are in almost equal shares: Medical & Pharmaceutical (21%), Consumer Electronics (21%), Automotive (19%), and Building & Architecture (19%).

The restrictions brought about by the pandemic challenge the printed electronics industry to find new ways to address and meet customers. Next to web seminars and bilateral web meetings, 52 percent of the survey participants are using virtual events and platforms to connect and communicate with potential clients. “As an emerging industry our level of innovation is high, and it’s evident that we are comfortable using innovative communications and networking platforms,” underlines Stan Farnsworth.

Caption: The OE-A business climate survey forecasts an 11% increase in turnover for the industry this year. For 2022, a plus of 13% is expected (source: OE-A)

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