The global smart windows market size was valued at USD 5,972.12 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 15,526.11 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
"Smart window" or "switchable window" refers to glass products whose light transmission properties alter in response to electricity, light, or heat application. The glass typically transitions from translucent to transparent, blocking some (or all) light wavelengths while allowing other light to pass through. Buildings with smart glass in their exterior walls become climate-adaptive shells that can save energy costs associated with heating, cooling, and lighting and the expense of installing and maintaining motorized light screens, blinds, or curtains.
Installing smart windows allows energy-saving heating, environmentally or weather-adaptive building shells, lateral lighting, and air conditioning. The automobile sector, business buildings, and residential buildings are where smart windows are most commonly employed. The most significant fields that smart window manufacturers are interested in are commercial buildings, the automotive industry, and personal property buildings. For instance, Blackout smart glass, used in conjunction with low-emissivity coatings for SPD-type smart glass, prevents 99.4% of UV rays from causing fabric fading.
Surge in Demand for Products Developed Using Smart Glass in the Construction Sector
Smart glass employed in the buildings and transportation sectors provides dynamic glare, light, and heat control based on ambient conditions or manual controls. Smart glass is energy efficient and is highly adopted in the construction sector. According to records, several encouraging developments for the smart glass market have been observed over the past year, including the establishment of new industrial-scale production capacity, increased investment levels, and partnership announcements between smart glass technology companies and upstream and downstream suppliers and participants. These elements are projected to fuel market expansion.
Smart Glass Influencing Automobiles Industry
The global market for smart windows is expanding due to the adoption of green initiatives such as eco-friendly and green buildings, non-electric technologies such as thermochromic, and others, along with government support and initiatives worldwide. The transportation and aerospace sector is anticipated to lead the application segment, contributing to high market revenue. Commercializing suspended particle device (SPD) products has revealed several opportunities, such as fixing side-view windows, rear-view mirrors, automobile doors, and sunroofs.
Lack of awareness of long-term benefits
Lack of awareness among end-users in terms of consumer about the functionality and benefits of smart glass is expected to hamper the smart windows market growth. However, extensive marketing endeavors by a select geographical roll-out scheme are expected to augment sales through consumer awareness. Increased usage and further recognition by the public are expected to reduce the hindrance caused by a lack of awareness. Nevertheless, the global smart glass market is soon estimated to witness commercialization in terms of enhanced operational and cost efficiency, a wide range of applications, and the incorporation of advanced materials.
Lowering Prices of Advance Materials
Smart or switchable windows use the scientific principle of electrochromism, which states that materials change color when an electrical voltage is applied to alter their color from clear to dark. Typically, smart windows start off a bluish color and gradually, within a few minutes, turn transparent when the electric current passes through them, which offers a prominent role in the adoption of smart windows. With the decrease in the price of electrochromic materials used in smart windows, the market is expected to experience solid growth during the forecast period.
The smart glass market growth can be recognized by its vibrant applicability in automotive and domestic sectors; for example, protecting objects under museum display cases and picture frames from the damaging effects of the visible wavelengths of artificial light and UV rays and rear-view mirrors in automobiles. The surging penetration of luxury automobiles in Asia-Pacific and elevated income levels are major drivers for electrochromic technology that are expected to create opportunities for future global market growth.
The global smart windows market is segmented by technology, type, and application.
Based on technology, the global market is bifurcated into suspended particle devices light modulators, polymer dispersed liquid crystal devices, scanners, and electrochromic.
The suspended particle devices light modulator segment is the most significant contributor to the market share and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 8.1% over the forecast period. The smart glass market came up with its innovative technology. This renowned technology is called "Suspended Particle Device" smart glass technology. SPD uses suspended microscopic particles in the form of a thin layer suspended in liquid and placed between layers of glass or plastic. It is translucent when in an unpowered state, and the absence of voltage, suspended particles are randomly arranged, thus blocking and absorbing light. SPDs can be manually or automatically regulated to control the quantity of light, heat, and glare passing through, minimizing the demand for air conditioning in the summer months and heating during winter.
Furthermore, they can be controlled using several mediums such as photosensors, motion detectors, smartphone applications, integration with intelligent building and vehicle systems, knobs, or light switches. The technology is eco-friendly and blocks 99% ultraviolet light. Other benefits include decreased carbon emissions and the requirement for pricey window dressings. This technology is being highly used in every sector using smart glass-based products. This is the prominent factor that is driving the growth of the global market.
Smart glasses with polymer-dispersed liquid crystals are created by sandwiching a thin liquid crystal layer between two transparent electrical conductors and two layers of glass. In contrast to electrochromic glass, PDLC smart glass is transparent until an electric current passes through it. The only difference is the switching rate, which is faster by a few seconds in PDLC glass than in electrochromic glass and other technologies. PDLC technology has been widely used in interior and exterior settings for privacy control, mainly required in conference rooms, intensive-care areas, bathrooms, etc. It is marketed as an adhesive-backed smart film that can be put into already-installed windows and cut to size on-site. In addition, display devices based on PDLC technology are very useful for large-area displays, as their fabrication for manufacturing shutters is easier and faster. They are also employed for automotive technology and smart windows. This is the significant factor that is driving the growth of the global market.
Based on type, the global smart windows market is divided into OLED glass, self-dimming windows, and self-repairing.
The OLED glass segment dominates the global market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 10.4% over the forecast period. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) are an emerging type of display technology. This technology eliminates the necessity for separate backlighting. The display panels relying on this technology are thinner than those made using other technologies integrated into display devices. The OLED glass is perfect for small consumer handheld and wearable devices requiring a small footprint. OLED has several benefits over traditional display technologies, such as its flexibility and lightweight, giving it a competitive edge over other market categories. The OLED glass is recognized as a lighter and thinner alternative than conventional LED and LCD systems.
In addition, OLED glass does not require backlighting compared to LCD. Stable performance in sunlight is an additional advantage of OLED. For instance, Japan-based glass developer companies such as Asahi Glass (AGC) are developing a new ultra-thin glass signage display called inferred, including OLED displays embedded within the glass.
Self-dimming windows are a sandwich of liquid crystals that turn glass from clear to frosted. Self-dimming is a smart technology that helps reduce UV radiation. These are also called magic or privacy glasses. The advent of smart infrastructure being adopted in the residential and commercial sectors promotes the usage of self-dimming windows. Self-dimming windows also protect the ambiance's internal heating and cooling, saving energy and cutting operational costs. Therefore, smart buildings demand the installation of self-dimming windows, which leads to market growth.
Based on application, the global smart windows market is segmented into residential, commercial, industrial, and transport.
The transport segment owns the highest market share and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 8.8% during the forecast period. The transport segment includes commercial vehicles, trains, passenger vehicles, warehouses, storage houses, etc. The smart windows prevent energy loss, allow optimum sunlight, and facilitate the consumer to remote access to its features.
The commercial sector includes office buildings, hospitals, schools, IT parks, retail, showrooms, marts, and malls. The commercial sector adopts intelligent solutions that operate automatically and conserves energy, reducing human efforts and decreasing operation costs. Smart windows use materials and films that cut electricity costs, making interiors cooler and possibly window treatment-free. Therefore, these premises are installed with smart windows solutions, which drive the market and provide opportunities in developing nations.
Based on region, the global smart windows market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
North America is the most significant global smart windows market shareholder and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.51% over the forecast period. The regional manufacturer of smart windows frequently gives away their products for free to early adopters, yet they have little success. The current flow is projected to expand three to four times annually for several years until capacity is reached and the need for fresh investment becomes apparent. This region has also considered the cost as its prime concern. Reliable players have been dragged into View Inc.'s low-pricing strategies to remain "in the game." In addition, the growing demand for smart glass in North American nations drives the industry. In recent years, several offices, hotels, and residential homes installed smart glass in their properties. The automotive and construction industries held the largest market share in the North American market due to the increasing demand for smart windows in architecture, a progressing real estate market in the region.
Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 13.3% over the forecast period. Europe is witnessed to have a very good future growth for the market. Germany remained the market leader in Europe for smart windows, and growth is anticipated there over the next years. Europe competing with North America is expected to become the highest revenue-generating region, where smart glass is fast becoming one of Europe's more recognized building materials. The fact that architects, designers, and engineers use smart glass as a versatile material for a variety of applications is one of the factors contributing to its appeal. The increase in demand for smart glass throughout Europe is because of the high flexibility of the product, making it useful in the commercial, hospitality, healthcare, industrial, exhibition, and residential sectors. The fact that smart glass can be used in many different sectors proves the product's many practical benefits.
In Asia-Pacific, China, Japan, and India are the major economies contributing to the smart window market growth. In addition, China offers lucrative opportunities for smart windows in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by India. Stringent government regulations related to complications caused by smart glass in Japan and China are expected to fuel market growth. Increasing technological advancements in smart glass-based products would fuel the demand for the smart window market. The smart window market is growing in offices, residential areas, and hotels. In addition, growing research and development concerning smart windows is expected to expand the regional market. For instance, researchers at Shanghai University introduced the first-ever smart window-producing electricity. This smart window behaving like a solar panel uses Vanadium oxide to produce electricity.
Furthermore, the major concern is the conservation of energy and prevention of depletion of fossil fuels, which can be achieved by these smart windows that help save electricity without harming the environment and its resources, thus helping the technology obtain a huge market in these regions.
LAMEA region is expected to witness growth in terms of the adoption of smart glass technology during the forecast period considering the growth in all major regions: Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The Middle East was the highest revenue-generating region in LAMEA. Latin America witnessed slow growth in the global market due to the negative impact on the companies and organizations of Latin America. However, in 2018, Africa was the lowest revenue-generating segment due to a lack of accessibility and an economic crisis in the region. Nevertheless, the demand for smart windows in the automotive and architectural sectors in Africa is expected to foster market growth if costs are reduced in the future. An increase in modifications in the technology by the key players in different emerging countries of LAMEA has fueled the growth of smart windows in this region. For instance, the big players in materials, such as Smart Glass Inc., are developing new innovative technologies that are helping smart windows to get recognized.
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