Nanotechnology Boom Expected by 2015

New report forecasts major growth spurt in next seven years.

The market for nanotechnology-based products is expected to reach $3.1 trillion by 2015, up from $147 billion in 2007, according to a recent report by technology advisory firm Lux Research. The forecast is based on data from more than 1,000 primary interviews Lux Research analysts conduct with technology developers annually, as well as a new survey of 31 top corporations active in nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology realized the greatest growth in the report's materials and manufacturing sector during 2007, with the technology being used in $97 billion worth of products including coatings and composites used in automobiles and buildings. Electronics followed at $35 billion where nanotech is being used to develop displays and batteries. The healthcare industry generated $15 billion of revenue, driven primarily by pharmaceutical applications.

Through 2015 the materials and manufacturing sector will remain the top field for nanotechnology applications, growing at 45% to reach $1.8 trillion worth of product revenue. The electronics sector will gain ground through 2015, growing at a 51% compound annual growth rate to reach $940 billion, while healthcare and life sciences will grow at 46% annually to reach $31 billion.

The United States leads the way with $59 billion worth of nanotech-based products produced in 2007. Europe followed at $47 billion; Asia/Pacific accounts for $31 billion, and the rest of the world accounted for $9.4 billion. However, Europe is expected to edge the United States in nanotech revenue with $1.09 trillion worth of products generated by 2015, compared with $1.08 trillion in the U.S. over the same period. Asia will remain in third place at $717 billion.

Nanotechnology research and development hit $13.5 billion in 2007, up 14% from 2006. Global corporate R&D spending grew 23% to reach $6.6 billion, passing government spending for the first time.

The Lux report, "Nanomaterials State of the Market Q3 2008: Stealth Success, Broad Impact," contends that the growth of nanotechnology is turning a once-overhyped industry into reality.

"Nanotech isn't a new market or industry - it's an enabling technology that improves many types of products," says Jurron Bradley, senior analyst at Lux Research. "For example, you find it in coatings boosting the efficiency of automobile engines, in nano-enabled finishes protecting electronic devices, and nanoparticulate reformulations that make cholesterol-reducing drugs more effective. These innovations aren't always visible to consumers, but they improve products and boost margins. That's why nanomaterials' use is only going to keep growing."

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