World news: August 2012
Stepper sales growth slows as machinery production declines
Global growth in the sales of stepper motor systems will slow from 4.3% in 2012 to 3.8% in 2013, according to a new study from IMS Research. One area that will buck this trend is sales to the medical equipment and commercial markets which are gaining momentum, with 2013 expected to outpace 2012 figures.
Industrial machinery is the largest user of stepper systems, accounting for nearly 70% of stepper sales in 2011. Thus the steppers market is tied closely to machinery production, which rebounded strongly after the global downturn with growth rates of 16.7% in 2010 and 12.4% 2011. However, the economic crisis in Europe and China’s cooling economy is slowing industrial output, and IMS predicts that the growth of stepper system sales for industrial machinery applications will drop to 3.5% in 2013.
A brighter picture comes from the medical equipment and commercial markets. Sales of steppers for medical equipment are forecast to grow by 6% in 2012 and by a similar rate in 2013. But this market represented just 16% of total steppers sales in 2011.
The even smaller steppers market for commercial applications will benefit from the increased adoption and upgrading of security equipment in banking, surveillance and traffic monitoring applications. Stepper system sales to the security sector are picking up, with a predicted growth of 3.3% in 2012, followed by 3.5% in 2013.
“Stepper systems are sold into a variety of applications and the forecasted market growth reflects this,” explains IMS research analyst, Michelle Figgs. “As machinery production slows with the worldwide economy, the steppers market will be negatively impacted, but this will be partially offset by the strength of the medical equipment and commercial markets. Therefore the total stepper market is forecast to slow, but to a lesser extent than machinery production output.”