European photonics outperforming global GDP

24 July 2021
Our advocacy campaign for Photonics21 highlighted the phenomenal growth of light technologies in Europe – more than double the rate of global GDP since 2015.

Throughout June, we emphasised the solid economic state of European photonics, which is growing at more than double the rate of global GDP. Using the newly published research conducted by deep technology research group Tematys, our campaign reached EU influencer media such as Science Business and Euractiv – and a host of different industry titles, such as PIC Magazine, Compound Semi-Conductor,, Novus Light and Electro Optics.

We gained 20 pieces of coverage in two weeks with a possible monthly audience of over one million unique monthly visitors. Sam Young, Account Director at Matter PR, said:

“Our campaign helped amplify the comprehensive Tematys study, delivering a glowing report for the European photonics industry. We have shown that photonics is a breakthrough key enabling technology that increases the competitiveness of European industry, generates jobs, and solves societal challenges.

“This advocacy campaign highlighted how the EU photonics industry is holding its own against some fierce competition: from 2015 to 2019, Europe maintained a clear second position in the global photonics market share. Although Europe and North America had held a joint 16% global market share in 2015, the new research showed Europe had nudged slightly ahead to 16%, with North America on 15%.”

The new study showed that light technologies are currently outperforming EU GDP and EU industrial production by three and five times, respectively. Present in many high-end, next-generation products, photonics has proved to be a long-term driver of growth and an enormous creator of jobs through the indispensable role it has in future markets.

Generating Jobs, Solving Societal Challenges

Adding over 30,000 jobs to its workforce, the European photonics’ industry outperformed the manufacturing sector across the entire European continent in terms of employment. With more than 390,000 employees – an annual growth rate of 2.1% – EU photonics grew twice as fast as European Manufacturing for the EU28 (around a 1% CAGR).

Revenue growth for this same period in Europe (7% per year) was three times that of the entire European GDP (2.3%/year) and almost five times the growth of the European industrial production (1.5%/year). Photonics21 Vice President Giorgio Anania said:

“The European photonics industry is thriving, and this study confirms that light technologies have a proven track record as a long-term driver of growth not only in Europe but also across the world.

“With a global growth rate of CAGR 7 %, photonics is growing faster than many other high-tech industries, for example, the IT industry (4.5%), Medtech (4.9%), and Microelectronics (4%).