SURREY, UK – Portable products such as mobile phones and tablets have keyed the rise of the flex market, now estimated at $12 billion worldwide, a new report says.
Strong demand will continue through 2018, driven by handsets, which make up over 40% of the end-product use of flex circuits, says the authors of the report, BPA Consulting.
The research firm points to the rise in demand of low- and medium-end smartphones, mainly from Chinese ODMs, products that are not as feature-filled as the iPhone 6 yet are making inroads among customers.
Xiaomi, for instance, a $5 billion enterprise founded just four years ago, manufactures in small batches, allowing for easy changes based on user feedback, and ships direct to end-users, foregoing conventional distribution channels.
"The recent past has seen the outsourcing model – anything from design through semiconductors to assembly of PCBs and their components. What has largely remained intact is the hardware itself has been driven by ODMS technology roadmaps to which the supply industry has responded. This has often meant continuing investment in new manufacturing technologies and processes," BPA said.
Flex circuits make up $12 billion of the $55 billion global PCB and laminate market, BPA says.
Source: BPA Consulting