Despite its mature nature, the global alkaline battery market is set to experience stable growth during the forecast period. Important factors enabling this growth include the continuing transition from the carbon zinc to alkaline battery chemistry as well as the increasing use of hi-tech, hi-drain applications that demand more power. However, limited product differentiation and fierce price competition among vendors will prove challenging for market participants, necessitating a greater focus on R&D activities to enhance battery performance.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, World Alkaline Battery Market, reveals that revenues in this market totaled $6.49 billion in 2005, and can reach $8.55 billion in 2012.
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“The migration from carbon zinc to alkaline batteries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, is likely to be a major driver for the growth of the global alkaline batteries market,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Suba S. “The alkaline battery chemistry proves to be more advanced than carbon zinc batteries, offering lower internal resistance, better performance at lower temperature, and competitive cost per hour use on moderate-to-current drains.”
This apart, the growing use and sophistication of hi-tech, hi-drain portable electronic devices is also likely to positively influence the global demand for alkaline batteries. Although higher-end devices have turned toward rechargeable lithium batteries, there is still a large demand for the convenient and inexpensive alkaline battery for certain portable devices.
Concerning market challenges, limited product differentiation is likely to hamper the growth of the alkaline battery market. All brands of primary alkaline batteries are similar in capabilities and, with minimal product differentiation; price becomes a crucial element along with brand recognition. This has resulted in price wars, paving the way for imported batteries from the Asia Pacific, indirectly affecting the smaller local vendors.
“Being in the market for almost 50 years, alkaline batteries have reached a saturation stage with regard to innovations in the existing chemistry,” says Suba S. “While the major market participants possess the necessary capital and R&D resources to diversify their products, smaller vendors lack similar resources and are therefore forced to compete primarily on prices.”
Considering the highly competitive nature of the global alkaline battery market, the ability to develop improved alkaline batteries that deliver higher efficiencies, while retaining the level of expected reliability, will be a key competitive advantage. Hence, market participants should prioritize R&D activities, while also improving customer loyalty through appropriate marketing strategies aimed at both customers and the distributors.
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