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Color-Shifting Materials Market Opportunities – 2015 to 2022

In this report, n-tech (1) identifies and quantifies the key emerging opportunities for color-shifting materials, (2) offers guidance on where and how these smart materials will be used in the future and (3) profiles the leading firms who are shaping the color-shifting materials space.
Technology and product assessments
This report provides full coverage of smart chromic materials with an analysis of the latest technology developments in:
  •       Thermochromism
  •       Photochromism
  •       Electrochromism
  •       Solvatochromism
  •       Cathodchromism
  •       Electrophoresis 
Included in this analysis is discussion of how these technologies are being commercialized in the latest color-shifting materials and brands.
End-user application analysis 
We also include a full analysis of the applications areas where n-tech analysts expects the major revenue generation opportunities for color-shifting materials to appear in the next decade:
  • Automotive surfaces
  • Construction (walls and windows)
  • Clothing and textiles,
  • Brand protection
  • Sensors
Eight-Year Market Forecasts
The report also contains highly granular forecasts of the worldwide color-shifting material space:
  • Revenue ($ millions)
  • Volume (square meters) terms,
  • By application
  • By material type
Strategic profiles
This report provides insight into the product/market strategies of the firms to watch in this important part of the smart materials market including both the major specialty chemical companies and smaller specialist firms. 
The companies covered will include:
  • Adidas
  • BASF
  • Chromatic Technologies
  • DuPont
  • E Ink
  • JDS Uniphase
  • Johnson Controls
  • Kodak Graphics
  • Merck
  • Olikrom
  • PPG
  • Schreiner Group
  • Sellerink
  • Sun Chemica
  • Valspar
The market evaluation in this report is based on interviews with key players in this space, as well as numerous secondary resources.  It also draws on n-tech’s insider knowledge of the smart materials business.   We believe that this report will be a valuable strategic resource for marketers and business development executives entering – or already active – in this emerging market.
Executive Summary    
E.1 Color-Shifting: A New Enabler for Smart Applications          
E.2 Opportunities for Color-Shifting in Clothing and Textiles
E.2.1 Reducing the Risk in a Risky Business     
E.3 Opportunities for Color-Shifting for Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection
E.3.1 The Future of Optically Variable Inks         
E.4 Opportunities for Color-Shifting in the Automotive Industry   
E.4.1 Technology Strategies for Color-Shifting Automotive Strategies    
E.5 Opportunities for Color-Shifting in the Construction Industry 
E.5.1 Combating High Prices    
E.6 Markets for Color-Sensing Materials in Sensors       
E.7 Firms to Watch       
E.7.1 3M          
E.7.2 Adidas    
E.7.3 Alcoa Architectural Products        
E.7.4 Johnson Controls
E.7.5 Sun Chemical (U.S.)         
E.7.6 Valspar   
E.8 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Revenues from Color-Shifting Products           
Chapter One: Introduction       
1.1 Background to this Report  
1.1.1 Color-Shifting Materials:  New and Improved
1.1.2 Attracting Customers to Color Shifting Surfaces    
1.1.3 Color Shifting Materials Add Functionality 
1.2 Objective and Scope of this Report 
1.3 Methodology of this Report
1.4 Plan of this Report  
Chapter Two: Color-Shifting Materials and Technologies        
2.1 Materials Platforms for Color-Shifting Products:  High- and Low-Value Options         
2.2 Crystal Flakes:  Dominant Technology for Paints, Coatings and Inks 
2.2.1 Future Technology Options for Flake-based Color-Shifting 
2.2.2 New Substrates for Flake-based Color Shifting      
2.3 Optically Variable Inks         
2.3.1 Technological Improvements for Color Shifting Inks           
2.4 Thermochromic Materials:  Liquid Crystal and Dyes  
2.4.1 Leuco Dyes         
2.4.2 Liquid Crystals     
2.5 Potential of Other Chromic Materials
2.5.1 Photochromism   
2.5.2 Electrochromism  
2.5.3 Paramagnetics?   
2.5.4 Electrophoresis    
2.5.5 Pressure Sensitive Color-Shifting Film       
2.6 Color-Shifting, Smarts and the Semiconductor Industry        
2.6.1 Potential Use for Photodetectors in Color-Shifting Surfaces           
2.6.2 LEDs and Transistors       
2.7 Key Points from this Chapter           
Chapter Three: Color-Shifting Clothing and Textiles    
3.1 Will Fashion Pay for Color-Shifting Products?
3.1.1 Connecting the Dots: Color-Shifting and Smart Materials   
3.2 Types of Color-Shifting Technologies Used in Clothing and Fabrics  
3.2.1 Thermochromic    
3.2.2 Photochromic      
3.2.3 Touch-Sensitive Chromatic Materials         
3.2.4 Optical Luminescence-Based Fabrics        
3.2.5 Research Directions for Chromatic Fabrics
3.3 Color-Shifting Shoes           
3.3.1 Past Efforts         
3.3.2 Heavyweights Enter the Scene: Adidas and Nike   
3.3.3 Start-ups: Hoping for a Big Score 
3.4 Color-shifting Clothing in Athletic and Performance Gear      
3.4.1 Temperature-Sensitive Outfits       
3.4.2 Outdoor Wear      
3.4.3 Color-Shifting Swimwear   
3.4.4 Bruise Suit           
3.5 Color-Shifting in High Fashion: Beyond the Gimmick
3.6 Color-Shifting Uniforms       
3.6.1 Color-Shifting Skins for Camouflage         
3.7 Challenges in Color-Shifting Clothes and Fabrics      
3.7.1 Reliable Revenues from the Runway?        
3.7.2 Cost Considerations: Who Will Pay?         
3.7.3 Durability 
3.8 Companies to Watch           
3.8.1 Adidas    
3.8.2 Nike        
3.8.3 Under Armour      
3.8.4 Start-ups and Small Firms: Where Can They Find Room?   
3.9 Key Points from This Chapter
Chapter Four: Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection          
4.1 Framing the Market 
4.1.1 Anti-counterfeiting: Literally, a Money-Making Proposition  
4.1.2 Brand Protection: Are You Getting Value? 
4.2 Types of Color-Shifting Technologies Used in Security and Brand Protection
4.2.1 Optically Variable Inks and Devices          
4.2.2 Thermochromic and Photochromic Technologies   
4.2.3 Fluorescence       
4.2.4 Solvent-Sensitive Ink        
4.2.5 Embedded Photonic Crystals       
4.2.6 Research Projects In Color-Shifting Technologies for Security        
4.3 Security and Protection Cases for Color-shifting Materials    
4.3.1 Currency  
4.3.2 Secure Documents
4.3.3 Authenticity
4.3.4 Brand protection  
4.3.5 Usage Trends Aren't Friendly to All Chromatic Technologies           
4.4 Pros and Cons for Color-Shifting Capabilities in Secure Applications
4.4.1 Addressing a Need, Not Creating It           
4.4.2 The Balancing Act: Keep It Simple, But Don't Stand Still    
4.4.3 Security, Inks, and the Digital Age
4.4.4 Big Costs, but Small Volumes      
4.4.5 Denominations: Big Opportunities in Going Smaller
4.5 Companies to Watch in Color-Shifting for Security and Brand Protection       
4.5.1 SICPA (Switzerland)         
4.5.2 Viavi (U.S.)
4.5.3 De La Rue (U.K.)
4.5.4 Sellerink (Brazil)   
4.5.5 Sun Chemical (Japan)       
4.5.6 Innovia (Australia) 
4.5.7 Lumenco and KBA-NotaSys
4.6 Eight-Year Forecast Color-Shifting Materials Used for Security and Related Applications       
4.7 Key Points from This Chapter
Chapter Five: Color-Shifting in Automotive Applications         
5.1 Is There a Market Beyond the Gimmick?       
5.1.1 Part of the Smarter-Car Picture
5.1.2 Aesthetics and Design Are Critical
5.2 Technologies for Color-Shifting in Automotive          
5.2.1 Pigments and Passive Color-Shift
5.2.2 Thermochromic    
5.2.3 Light Panels and Light Guides      
5.2.4 Photochromic and Electrochromic
5.2.5 Suspended Particle Device (SPD) 
5.2.6 Paramagnetics: Anything Beyond Hype?   
5.3 Color-Shifting Applications for Automotive Surfaces
5.3.1 Vehicle Interiors   
5.3.2 Vehicle Exteriors  
5.3.3 Up in the Air: Airplanes and Color-Shifting Interiors
5.4 Challenges for Color-Shifting in Automotive Applications      
5.4.1 High cost 
5.4.2 Uncertain Quality  
5.4.3 Durability of Chromatic Effect      
5.4.4 Autos are a Slow-Moving Industry 
5.4.5 Selling Smarts: Who Wants Changing Colors?       
5.5 Companies to Watch in Color-Shifting for Automotive Applications   
5.5.1 Johnson Controls 
5.5.2 Viavi        
5.5.3 BASF      
5.5.4 3M          
5.5.5 Carmakers           
5.5.6 Others with Pigments and Particle-based Coatings
5.6 Eight-year Forecasts of Markets for Color-Shifting Materials Used in the Automotive Industry
5.7 Key Points from This Chapter
Chapter Six: Color-Shifting in Buildings         
6.1 Framing the Market: Walls and Windows      
6.2 Technology Options for Color-Shifting Building Walls and Windows  
6.2.1 Passive Color-Shifting
6.2.2 Embedded Lighting          
6.2.3 Electrochromic     
6.2.4 Suspended Particle Device (SPD) 
6.2.5 Electrophoretic (EPD)
6.2.6 Hydrogels
6.3 Use Cases for Color-Shifting in Buildings     
6.3.1 Exterior Walls      
6.3.2 Interior Walls
6.3.3 Smart Windows:  Color is Part of the Picture         
6.3.4 Novel Research Projects for Color-Shifting in Buildings     
6.4 Challenges and Opportunities for Color-Shifting in Buildings 
6.4.1 Paying for Prestige          
6.4.2 Any Reason Beyond Aesthetics?
6.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of the Market for Color-Shifting Materials in the Construction Industry   
6.6 Companies Active in Color-Shifting for Buildings      
6.6.1 Valspar (U.S.)      
6.6.2 PPG (U.S.)          
6.6.3 Alcoa Architectural Products (U.S.)           
6.6.4 Alpolic Materials (U.S.)
6.6.5 Research Frontiers International (RFI, U.S.)
6.6.6 E Ink (U.S.)          
6.6.7 3M (U.S.) 
6.7 Key Points from This Chapter
Chapter Seven: Color-Shifting Sensors—Life After Novelties   
7.1 Searching for a Higher Purpose       
7.1.1 A Wide-Open Field of Niches        
7.1.2 Low-Cost Tech for Mass-Market Needs     
7.2 Color-Shifting Sensors, Moving up the Value Chain  
7.2.1 Packaging and Labels      
7.2.2 Consumer Goods: Hot or Not?     
7.2.3 Industrial Equipment and Infrastructure      
7.2.4 Medical and Biological     
7.2.5 Applied Research 
7.2.6 Military/Domestic Security
7.3 Challenges for Color-Shifting Sensors         
7.3.1 Did We Mention Cost?     
7.3.2 Other Technologies Suffice          
7.4 Companies Offering Color-Shifting Technology and Products for Sensing     
7.4.1 Chromatic Technologies Inc. (U.S.)
7.4.2 Sun Chemical (U.S.)         
7.4.3 OliKrom (France)  
7.4.4 LCR Hallcrest (U.K.)         
7.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of Color-Shifting Materials for Sensors and Related Materials   
7.6 Key Points from This Chapter
Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report           
About the Author          

List of Exhibits

Exhibit E-1: Opportunities and Challenges for Color-Shifting Materials
Exhibit E-2: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials: By Application ($ Millions)
Exhibit E-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials: By Type of Material ($ Millions)     
Exhibit 2-1: Materials Platforms for Color-Shifting Products   
Exhibit 2-2: Liquid Crystal Color-Shifting Products      
Exhibit 2-3: Selected Color-Shifting Materials Other Than Thermochromic Materials
Exhibit 3-1: Start-ups with Color-Shifting Shoes          
Exhibit 3-2: Examples of Color-Shifting Fashion Concepts   
Exhibit 3-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Clothing/Textiles -- Available Markets and Penetration  
Exhibit 3-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Clothing/Textiles -- Market Value
Exhibit 3-5: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Clothing/Textiles -- by Material Type
Exhibit 3-6: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Clothing/Textiles - by Location of OEM ($ Million)       
Exhibit 4-1: Recent Currency Announcements for Color-Shifting Capabilities      
Exhibit 4-2: Making the Case for Color-Shifting in Secure Applications      
Exhibit 4-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting for Brand Protection and Security- Available Markets and Penetration   
Exhibit 4-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting for Brand Protection and Security -- Market Value
Exhibit 4-5: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting for Brand Protection and Security -- by Material Type  
Exhibit 4-6: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting for Brand Protection and Security - by Location of OEM ($ Million)     
Exhibit 5-1: Passive Color-Shifting Technology Brands and Owners          
Exhibit 5-2: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Automotive Surfaces -- Available Markets and Penetration  
Exhibit 5-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Automotive Surfaces -- Market Value
Exhibit 5-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Automotive Surfaces -- by Material Type  
Exhibit 5-5: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Automobile - by Location of OEM ($ Million)     
Exhibit 6-1: Recent Examples of Color-shifting Building Exteriors   
Exhibit 6-2: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Building Surfaces -- Available Markets and Penetration  
Exhibit 6-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Building Surfaces-- Market Value
Exhibit 6-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Building Surfaces -- by Material Type  
Exhibit 6-5: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Materials for Building Surfaces - by Location of OEM ($ Million)
Exhibit 7-1: Use Cases for Color-Shifting Sensors      
Exhibit 7-2: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Sensors -- Available Markets and Penetration
Exhibit 7-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Sensors-- Market Value
Exhibit 7-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Color-Shifting Sensors -- by Material Type      

Color-Shifting Materials Market Opportunities – 2015 to 2022

n-tech Research Forecasts $2.0 Billion in Revenues for Color-Shifting Coatings and Inks by 2020

Glen Allen, VA: In its latest report, n-tech Research projects revenues from color-shifting coatings and inks to reach almost US$2 billion by 2020, compared with approximately $380 million in 2015. Although these materials will continue to provide enhanced aesthetics, the report notes that color-shifting materials markets are also being driven by requirements for energy efficiency and anti-counterfeiting functionality.

Details of the new report, "Color-Shifting Materials Market Opportunities – 2015 to 2022" including a downloadable excerpt, are available at:

About the Report:

This report identifies the key business opportunities for color-shifting materials including those based on crystalline and metallic flakes, leuco dyes, thermochromic liquid crystal, optically variable inks (OVIs) and other chromic materials; including the latest R&D developments.  

An eight-year market forecast in both revenue and volume (square meters covered) is included with breakouts by material type, geographical location of customer and application. Applications covered include automotive (interior and exterior) surfaces, building walls and windows, clothing and textiles, anti-counterfeiting and brand protection and sensors.

This report provides insight into the product/market strategies of leading firms active in the color-shifting materials space.  Among the firms covered in this report are 3M, Adidas, AIQ, Alcoa, Arjowiggins, BASF, Cabela, Cerzua, , Chromatic Technologies, Crocs, Cute Circuit, Dai Nippon Printing, De La Rue, Dupli-Color, DuPont, E Ink, Epson, Evonik, Ford, GM, Heliotrope, HP, Innovia, IShuu, Jaked, Johnson Controls, Karma Chameleon, KBA-NotaSys, Kodak Graphics, LitCoat, LuluLemon, Lumenco, McLaren, Merck, Mitsubishi, NanoMatrix, Nike, Nippon Paint, NanoEnergia, Nissan, OliKrom, Opalux, Philips, PPG, Rainbow Winters, Radiate Athletics, RehabStudii, Research Frontiers, Sellerink, SICPA, Siltech, Sols Systems, Studio XO, Sun Chemical, Sunnyroots,  The Unseen, Toyota, TVR, Under Armor, Valspar VanDerWaals, Viavi, Volkswagen, Yanfeng and Xerox

Highlights from Report

Although some color-shifting materials are highly mature, novel materials of this kind are also being actively developed and color-shifting materials that are “outside the mainstream” will sell to the tune of $250 million by 2020.  The R&D work being carried out here is quite diverse and involves leading-edge ingredients such as photonic crystals, electrochromic polymers.  Another development direction is to create hybrid color-shifting systems that combine smart materials with sensor chips and LEDs.

The revenues from color-shifting coatings in the automotive sector are expected to reach $595 by 2020.  Using such coatings fits well with the current megatrend trend towards turning cars into “smart objects.”  Color has always been an important part of marketing vehicles and color-shifting literally gives a new option in the automakers’ palette.  However, the report cautions that while color shifting can also enhance the aesthetics of a vehicle, if poorly implemented, it can do the exact opposite.

The construction sector is expected to consume just under $1.1 billion in color-shifting coatings in 2020.  This segment of the color-shifting material market, however, will depend on the ability of vendors to develop, color-shifting surfaces that have practical use and not just aesthetic merit.  Thus color-shifting exterior walls might serve to enhance energy efficiency and they therefore have some value in the sustainable construction market including zero-energy buildings.  Alternatively, one might find some actual novel uses for color-shifting walls, as E Ink proposes.

About n-tech Research:

n-tech Research is the leading provider of market research and industry analysis for the advanced materials sector, with a special focus on opportunities from the latest functional and smart materials. 

Visit for a full listing of the firm’s services.


Robert Nolan 
n-tech Research
(804) 938-0030

posted Aug 26, 2015



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