The global copper-clad laminates market was valued at US$15.08 billion in 2022. The market value is expected to reach US$21.20 billion by 2028. A copper-clad laminate (CCL) is a board-like material that is made by immersing electronic fiberglass cloth or other reinforcing materials in resin, and then covering that with copper foil on one or both sides before it is hot-pressed. A key application for copper-clad laminates is in the manufacture of printed circuit boards (PCBs) used to mechanically support and connect electronic components.

In the coming years, the copper-clad laminate market is expected to be benefited from the ongoing construction of 5G base stations, the rapid development of cloud computing, and auto electrification. Server platform upgrades have also boosted the consumption of high-performance PCBs and CCLs. Moreover, the electrification and intelligentization of automobiles have created scenarios for PCB and CCL applications, leading to market growth. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approx. 6% during the forecasted period of 2023-2028.

Market Segmentation Analysis:

By Type: The report provides the bifurcation of the market into two types: Rigid and Flexible. The rigid CCL held the highest share of the market. The increasing demand for electric vehicles and the innovations in electronic machines are expected to boost the demand for rigid copper-clad laminate in the forthcoming years. Whereas flexible laminates have lesser weight, thinness, and better flexibility as compared to rigid laminates, and hence is used in different applications like electronic products, including cellphone, digital camera, automotive GPS, and laptop.

By Application: The report further provides the analysis based on applications: Communication Systems, Computers, Consumer Electronics, Automotive Electronics, Industrial Electronics, Medical Equipment, and Others. Communication systems held the highest share in the market, whereas automotive electronics is expected to be the fastest-growing segment in the forecasted period. The demand for copper-clad laminates in communication systems is driven by the swelling demand for 5G infrastructure. Further, server upgrades have jacked up demand for high-performance PCBs and CCLs that can offer high frequencies and high speeds. Therefore, as an investment in 5G infrastructure increases, it is expected that global server construction to boost PCB and CCL market demand during forthcoming years.

By Reinforcement Material: The report provides a glimpse of the global rigid copper-clad laminates market based on the following reinforcement materials: Fiberglass, Special Substrates Base, Compound, and Paper Base. Fiberglass cloth-focused CCL includes FR-5 and FR-4. FR-4 (Flame Retardant-4) is a material consisting of a woven glass fiber cloth and an epoxy resin laminate material that is self-extinguishing (flame resistant). FR-4 has excellent performance and is cheaper than some special materials. Meanwhile, this material has been fully studied, so it can be modified to produce a wide range of benefits such as a halogen-free type. On the other hand, as high-frequency and high-speed applications such as 5G, IoT, and data centers became commonplace, the market share of special CCLs is expected to rise in the coming years.

By Region: The report provides insight into the copper-clad laminates market based on the regions namely, Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and the Rest of the World. Asia Pacific held the major share of the copper-clad laminates market in 2022. It is also expected to be the fastest-growing region in the forthcoming years.

With the rise of Chinese mainland server manufacturers and a growing domestic server market, development opportunities have opened up for local providers of high-frequency and high-speed CCLs. For instance, by 2021, the number of 5G base stations in China had reached 1.42 million, with over 0.65 million new stations built in that year alone, and 5G investment had grown by 45.6% of total investments in the communications industry, based on data presented in the 2021 Statistical Bulletin of the Communications Industry issued by The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most promising innovation accelerators for digital enterprises. According to Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), within Germany, IoT spending would exceed US$37.45 billion (EUR35 billion) (making Germany the biggest spender in Europe) in 2021. The increase in IoT spending would generate demand prospects for PCB and CCL manufacturers in the coming years.

Market Dynamics:

Growth Drivers: The global copper-clad laminates market growth is predicted to be supported by numerous growth drivers such as increasing demand for consumer electronics, increasing demand for vehicles, increasing disposable income, growing use of medical devices, growing industrial robot industry, and many other factors. Automation requires the use of robots and their electronic components. Among the most important aspects of robotics is the printed circuit board (PCB) used for electronic control and operation. With multiple industries that use robotics, finding PCB solutions that meet the various needs of automated devices has become even more valuable. Hence, the increase in the industrial robotic industry boosts the demand for PCBs which, in turn, propels the demand for CCL.

Challenges: However, the market growth would be negatively impacted by various challenges such as rising copper prices, shortage of raw materials, chip shortage crisis, etc.

Trends: The market is projected to grow at a fast pace during the forecast period, due to various latest trends such as rapid development of cloud computing and server market, increasing auto electrification, rising IoT market, increasing construction of 5G base station, etc. The electrification and intelligentization of automobiles have created scenarios for PCB and CCL applications, including electrical control systems for new energy vehicles (NEVs), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and intelligent cockpits. As key function-bearing components of automotive electronics, PCBs would benefit substantially from the increase in automotive electronic content resulting from auto electrification and intelligentization. This would further increase the demand for CCL in the coming years.

Impact Analysis of COVID-19 and Way Forward:

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the copper-clad laminates industry’s growth in 2020. Due to blockage in trade and services across the globe, disruption in raw material supply, the surge in instrument and equipment prices, and a ban on transportation, the market was impacted heavily. Moreover, the COVID-19 outbreak has negatively affected PCB demand due to the supply chain fallout and a decline in demand from the industrial and automotive sectors, which has further decelerated the CCL market growth. However, the demand for edge computing emerges as the new driving force of the server market and would evolve and develop with the deployment of 5G infrastructure. This would stimulate the demand for PCB and CCL in the coming years, simultaneously.

Competitive Landscape:

The global copper-clad laminates market is highly concentrated. In 2022, the world’s top five CCL manufacturers (Kingboard Laminates, SYTECH, Nan YaPlastics, Elite Material (EMC), and ITEQ) had a combined market share of around 51%.

The key players in the global copper-clad laminates market are:

Elite Material Co. Ltd. (EMC)
Showa Denko K.K./ Resonac Holdings Corporation
Doosan Corp.
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company, Inc.
Rogers Corporation
Kingboard Laminates Holdings Ltd.
ITEQ Corporation
Nan Ya Plastics Corporation
Shengyi Technology Co., Ltd.
Taiwan Union Technology Corporation (TUC)
Isola Group
Goldenmax International Group Ltd.

Key manufacturers in the industry globally have consequently taken measures such as product transformation and capacity expansion to strengthen the business of copper-clad laminate production. Some of the strategies among key players in the market are mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations. For instance, in 2023, Resonac Corporation announced new multiyear contracts with Infineon Technologies AG (Infineon) to continue supplying SiC materials for power semiconductors to Infineon and cooperatively developing technologies related to SiC materials. On the other hand, in 2022, Doosan Corporation announced that the company has been advancing into the 5G antenna module business in partnership with Movandi Corporation.