Demand for gallium is forecast to rise rapidly between 2014 and 2020 as general lighting moves away from incandescent and fluorescent lamps to light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Despite this, the market is oversupplied and predicted to remain so. Between 2010 and 2013 Chinese capacity for production of primary gallium tripled in expectation of growing demand for gallium nitride (GaN) LEDs for backlighting of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels used in tablet computers, mobile phones and TVs. While there was considerable growth in demand from this sector, the supply of gallium far out grew requirements. Global conversion to LED general lighting in the period up to 2020 is expected to restore some balance to the gallium market, but supply is likely to be more than adequate.
World demand for gallium in 2013 was probably between 250t and 300t, about 50% higher than that in 2009. The increase resulted both from the recovery of existing markets in Japan, the USA and Europe from a downturn in 2008 and 2009, and the expansion of new applications both in these regions and in China. About 90% (270t in 2014) of consumption is in semiconductor (SC) or semi-insulating (SI) applications.
The market for gallium in semiconductor/semi-insulator applications is forecast to grow at 6%py to about 420t by 2020, with use in LEDs for general lighting expected to expand at 16%py, much more rapidly than that in its more mature markets in integrated circuits (ICs), and LEDs for backlighting. Gallium’s use in ICs will remain the largest but will decline from 50% to 43% of the total. Consumption in LEDs for backlighting is not expected to grow strongly because of greater technical efficiency allowing for fewer LEDs per instrument. Japan will remain the principal gallium consuming country but its share of the market will fall from 47% in 2014 to 41% in 2020, while China’s share is forecast to increase from 19% to 35% mainly because of increased use in lighting.
This in-depth report from Roskill covers every aspect of the gallium market, analysing developments and trends while also providing forecasts out to 2020 for supply, demand and prices.