Market Research Report
Published: January 1, 2021
Global Industry Analysts, Inc.
Content info: 235 Pages
Delivery time: 1-2 business days
Digitalization of Healthcare Catalyzed by COVID-19 & Led by Smart Wearables Comes as a Boon for Flexible Electronics. Market to Reach US$51.6 Billion
The global market for Flexible Electronics is projected to reach US$51.6 billion by the year 2027, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 18.6% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. Emerging as beneficiaries of the pandemic, health technologies have hit a goldmine of opportunities in a crisis. With COVID-19 underlining the importance of immunity in today's world, spending on health is no longer discretionary. With studies linking exercise to better immunity & low risk of developing COVID-19 complications, fitness routine of people has changed significantly. A key part of the ongoing at-home fitness trend is self-management of active lifestyle where wearables play a major role. Accelerated adoption of telemedicine & remote patient monitoring has additionally come as a double bonanza for wearable technology. Higher costs of treating the patient within the hospital are helping popularize solutions that target at-home and remote care for the patient. Healthcare variables provide a viable solution to keep track of patient vitals. Flexible electronics provide an alternative to beat the challenge of patient non-conformance. Flexible electronics allow the development of flexible components such as flexible displays and sensors which remove form factor and design constraints. The technology has become increasingly important to several end-use sectors such as consumer electronics, automotive, retail and healthcare. The flexible electronics industry is characterized by an intensifying demand for devices that are smaller, lighter and thinner. Recent years have seen industry-leading companies releasing products that incorporate flexible electronics that not only bend and fold to expand capabilities but are also ultra-thin. The ruggedness, portability, light-weight and low cost of production of flexible electronics, when compared to rigid substrates, facilitate its application in components that are integrated into modern smartphones, security tags, human and health performance tools, wearables, and agricultural and environmental sensors among others.
In addition to patient monitoring, flexible circuits are also finding application in multiple applications such as in blister packs and electromechanical test strips. Electromechanical test strips such as diabetic test strips are among the best-known applications of flexible electronics in healthcare sector. Even though the electromechanical test strip market is slowing down due to the advent of advanced continuous monitoring equipment, test strips still command a dominant share and the market is worth billions of dollars per year. E-textiles or smart clothing open up multiple application avenues, including healthcare monitoring. Embedded into textiles, flexible electronics can provide continuous monitoring of the patient. The electronics can be embedded into the clothes worn by the patient as well as into bedsheets and other furnishings with which the patient has frequent contact. Biometric monitoring can be used to segregate patient data from others. Implantable monitoring devices such as cardia monitoring devices are comparable to hospital-based devices in terms of their capabilities and reliability. However, they are expensive and do not have a favorable cost-to-benefit ratio. However, skin patches that can monitor cardiac rhythms are reliable and are also relatively inexpensive, making them ideal for cardiac monitoring. Moreover, such patches can also feature capabilities to monitor other diseases such as respiratory diseases among others. Skin patches are an emerging technology that enable continuous monitoring of patients. Skin patches are electronics that are embedded into the skin of the patients and transmit data continuously while the patients can carry out their regular activities. Even though rigid electronics can also be embedded as skin patches, flexible electronics provide a more comfortable option for patients. Flexible electronics against this backdrop is expected to witness revenues spike by 10.5% in the year 2020.
Flexible electronics have already permeated multiple supply chain and logistics solutions and have proven to be invaluable. However, the presence of flexible electronics in healthcare packaging is relatively low. When paired with healthcare packaging such as blister packaging, flexible electronics hold potential to improve the compliance of patients. Moreover, smart packaging also holds potential to check drug abuse. The present Covid-19 pandemic has increased the stress on telemedicine and remote monitoring of patients as healthcare infrastructure is being dedicated to treat patients afflicted by the virus. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an indirect boost for healthcare wearables and in turn for flexible electronics. Functional materials in flexible electronic devices are required to possess superior mechanical properties to withstand the strain and geometrical deformation in addition to capabilities such as energy generation, signal sensing, and energy storage. In applications such as wearable and skin?attachable electronics, high adhesion and water resistance are the desired attributes. An ideal substrate material for application in flexible electronics is expected to be less permeable to oxygen and water, dimensionally stable under thermal cycling, offer resistance to chemical attack, rollable, and flexible. Stainless steel, plastic, and glass are three of the most commonly used substrate materials in flexible electronics.
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