US demand to rise 4.2% annually through 2017
US demand for primary and secondary batteries is expected to increase 4.2 percent per year to $17.1 billion in 2017, accelerating from the 2007-2012 period. Gains will be driven by an upturn in motor vehicle and other durable goods output, and supported by stronger personal consumption expenditures growth. Motor vehicles will post the largest increases in dollar terms as motor vehicle production rises after more than a decade of decline. It will also be the fastest growing market in percentage terms, with overall battery demand bolstered by expanding production and sales of hybrid/electric vehicles (HEVs). Backup power supplies will register the next fastest demand gains, boosted by a pickup in nonresidential fixed investment, especially for wireless device transmission towers and related facilities, and by continuing concerns about the perceived vulnerability of the nation’s power grid.
Secondary batteries to continue outpacing primary
Despite a moderation in growth relative to the 2007-2012 period, secondary battery demand will climb faster than primary battery sales in a continuation of past market trends. The portable devices market, which registered the fastest growth of any market from 2007 to 2012, will continue to expand due to the popularity of high-drain devices (such as portable computers that utilize advanced battery chemistries like lithium-ion). However, advances will be tempered by the saturated nature of demand for products like cell phones and notebook computers. Sales of secondary batteries used in HEVs will more than double in dollar terms through 2017, although conventional motor vehicles will continue to account for over 90 percent of all automotive product demand. A key development in this industry is the rising output of all-electric vehicles. Although rechargeable lithium sales will grow at the fastest pace of any secondary battery chemistry, lead-acid will contribute significantly more to dollar gains through 2017. Bolstered by increases in motor vehicle production, lead-acid will be responsible for more than half of all secondary battery sales advances.
Consumer demand to dominate primary batteries
In the primary battery market, consumer segment demand will dwarf other categories, returning to growth after declining between 2007 and 2012. However, secondary batteries will continue to take away market share from primary units, as high-drain electronic devices and the batteries capable of powering them increase in popularity, restricting consumer primary battery market gains through 2017. Product sales in applications not specifically defined as consumer, industrial, or government related will expand the fastest, largely due to a rise in health care spending on primary batteries. This will be spurred by increases in the number of people who are 65 years and older (the fastest growing population segment in the US through 2017), which will lead to higher demand for batteries used to power medical-related devices such as defibrillators, drug pumps, hearing aids, heart monitors, and pacemakers. Among the different primary battery chemistries, alkaline is expected to register the greatest value gains, a continuation of its historical dominance of sales in most primary applications. However, primary lithium will post the strongest market advances in percentage terms, bolstered by the ability to effectively power highdrain devices.