These totals represent the sale prices by the manufacturer and not the retail prices. Over half the market is comprised of medium efficiency filters (F5-9). The next biggest category is high efficiency filters (H10-17). The market share of low efficiency filters has been reduced as purchasers have moved to more efficient options. Gas phase filters which eliminate odors and toxic gases have gained in popularity.
Commercial and institutional buildings are the largest purchases of filters. The metals sector is expanded by the inclusion of automotive cabin air filters. The electronics industry continues to be a major purchaser of high efficiency filters. Much of the growth in this segment has been due to the construction of flat panel display plants. The manufacture of photovoltaic solar cells will be a high growth segment over the next few years.
New technology is creating opportunities for enhanced margins. Membranes and micro and nanofibers are creating more efficient ways to capture small particles. One supplier has developed a filter that can achieve greater than 99 percent efficiency on particle sizes less than 80 nanometers in size. This is particularly significant in that it can protect against bacteria or viruses, such as H1N1.
Asia is growing much faster than other regions. This high growth rate is due to:
- Higher GDP growth rates
- Investment in infrastructure including commercial buildings
- Concentration of the world's electronic production in the region
- Heightened concerns over health
Due to the large and expanding markets in Asia, international manufacturers are shifting production to the region. In addition domestic manufacturers have not only increased capacity but quality as well. As a result, the region will be shifting from net import to net export of filters and filter media.