In the latest issue of its European Economic Forecast (Winter 2015), the European Commission reports that investments remained stable in 2014 due to a continuing poor investment climate. The European Commission predicts a noticeable rise in investment not before 2016, stimulated, among other things, by its own investment plan and the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme, which aims at reducing real interest rates. The microtechnology companies are actually inclined to spend more money on technology development and corporate growth in 2015 already: 35.8% of companies plan to invest more than in the past year.
Health care market booms – automotive back among top markets
The medical and healthcare sector is continually growing in importance for the microtechnology industry. More than half of the European companies are supplying this market. For nearly a quarter (24.4%), it is the most important target market. Microtechnology is essential for the medical industry, because it provides technical solutions that make it possible to enhance the quality and scope of health services and at the same time reduce the expenses for treatment, which is essential in view of the increasing life expectancy and the increase in chronic diseases. This trend will continue, and the technical possibilities are far from being exhausted.
The automotive industry has recently experienced a growth spurt around the world. For the microtechnology industry, too, this market has become more important again during the past two years. Automotive technology is the major target market for 11.1% of companies – in 2013 this applied to just under 4%. Reasons for the comeback of the automotive industry in the list of major target markets are a growing need for intelligent systems, such as driver assistance systems, the connectivity of cars with entertainment and information services, and the ongoing development of alternative drive concepts, such as electric or hydrogen engines.
Growing markets in Eastern Europe and China – Brazil high on the list
Markets in China and Eastern Europe have become considerably more important for the European microtechnology industry since 2013. Business with Russia has not abated despite the economic sanctions. A higher proportion of companies is doing business in Russia today than two years ago.
Emerging markets such as India and Brazil have not developed as fast as expected. The proportion of companies with market activities in Brazil has remained stable since 2013. However, an additional 22% of microtechnology companies want to become active there within the next five years. This would make Brazil the fastest growing overseas market for the European microtechnology industry in the medium term.
About IVAM Research:
IVAM Research, the economic research division of the IVAM Microtechnology Network, collects economic data in the fields of microtechnology, nanotechnology, advanced materials, and optical technologies once a year. The survey in January and February 2015 has been addressed to 2541 companies and research institutes in Europe. 6.5 % of addressees took part in the survey.