The fastest-selling battery types
Worldwide small battery sales continue to support the popular Alkaline-Manganese long-life batteries. Alkaline batteries accounted for 32 billion of the 58 billion replaceable batteries sold in 2003, or 47% of the total market. Older style carbon-zinc (Leclanché) cells had 21 billion units in sales. The remaining 5 billion units were roughly equally divided between Nickel-Cadmium and Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. In dollar sales, Nickel-Metal Hydride would win out because of its higher pricing. Close behind and rapidly growing in sales are special-purpose batteries of the types Lithium-Ion, Lithium Polymer, and Lithium-Iron. These are often built into laptops and digital cameras and usually are not replaceable by the user.
A report published in June, 2003 gives market projections into the years 2007 and 2012 as seen by 39 different suppliers of batteries. The report, or sections of it, may be purchased from The Freedonia Group, Cleveland OH .
The growth rate of battery sales in North America and Europe, where most sales occurred, has been fairly flat at 7% per year. (From 1992 to 1997 the growth rate was 7.7%.) In China, battery sales have leaped ahead even faster, growing at about 13% per year. As the telephone network grows in China, even more batteries will be required to power all the cellular telephones. In North America and Europe, cellular ‘phones supplanted the existing wired network in homes and offices. China’s new network is almost entirely dependent upon radio links to portable telephones.