Total silver industrial demand is forecast to grow 27%, adding an additional 142 million oz of silver demand through 2018 compared with 2013 levels, according to a new report issued recently by the Silver Institute. Half of this growth will be accounted for by the electrical and electronics sector, but additional demand will be due to growth in other industrial applications, as highlighted in the report entitled, Glistening Particles of Industrial Silver.

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The unique properties of silver—its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, as well as its malleability, ductility and optical reflectivity—make it indispensable in many industrial applications, from watch batteries to industrial-scale solar energy systems, according to CRU Consulting, the London-based metals consultancy and authors of the report.

Increasingly, applications for silver are being invented, discovered and, importantly, commercialized. The report outlines the potential for growth from several of the most important industrial silver applications. Increasing demand for silver in solar panels, as well as in the production of ethylene oxide, automobiles, bearings and batteries, has influenced consumers in developed and developing countries to varying degrees, with silver industrial demand shifting among key geographical locations. Increased use of silver has driven consumption growth in both China and India and the trend seems likely to continue.

The photovoltaic market has been a strong market for silver consumption. Since 2013, there has been rapid development in the Asia-Pacific region with China dominating, along with strong potential for South America and Africa. In Europe, especially in Germany, there is continued growth in the installation of new photovoltaic capacity. Looking ahead, the Middle East and North Africa represent huge untapped potential as this technology becomes more affordable, and the Indian government aims for India to become a global leader in solar energy over the next three decades.

Additionally, the report examines future silver use in printed inks, brazing and alloys, and antibacterial applications, as well as the evolution of silver demand over the centuries, underscoring silver’s continued vital importance to global industry.

The Silver Institute is a nonprofit international industry association headquartered in Washington, D.C. Established in 1971, the institute’s members include leading silver producers, prominent silver refiners, manufacturers and dealers. The institute serves as the industry’s voice in increasing public understanding of the many uses and value of silver, and also creates programs across many platforms that benefit from the white metal. For more information on the report, the Silver Institute, or silver in general, please visit:

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