Resistors are components of electronic circuits which provide resistance to the electrical power or voltage, passing through the circuit or a specific part of the circuit. Variable resistors are such resistors whose value of electrical resistance provided can be varied. The variation in resistance is caused by a wiper. The resistance value of the variable resistor can be increased or decreased by moving the wiper across the resistor wire. The resistance providing part of variable resistors are generally made of carbon, tungsten alloys and of nickel-chromium among various other materials.
The market for variable resistors is growing at a very fast pace, primarily owing to the growing demand for electronic devices. Variable resistors are integral components of all types of electronic devices. These resistors provide protection to the electronic devices by resisting flow of excess power or voltage. In recent years, the market for electronic devices, such as mobile phones, computing devices and automation devices among others, have been growing by a very high rate. This in turn has been positively impacting the application of variable resistors in such devices, leading to growing demand globally. Additionally, growth of industrial verticals such as wastewater management and food & beverage manufacturing has also been boosting the integration of variable resistors in various automation components of such industries. However, the integration of economies of scale by manufacturing companies has led to decrease in price of these resistors, and hence can be deemed as a restraint for the revenue generated by variable resistors. Presence of large number of small players has led to intense competitive rivalry in the variable resistors market, and the trend can be expected to continue during the forecast period.
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By type, the global variable resistor market can be segmented into potentiometers, rheostats, thermistors and others. Potentiometers are variable resistors consisting of three terminals and have a range from 0 Ohm to 10k Ohm. Most common application of potentiometers is for controlling volume in audio devices. Rheostats consist of two terminals and functions similarly to potentiometers. Thermistors are variable resistors whose active resistance increases or decreases based on their immediate environmental temperature. Thermistors can have a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) or a negative temperature coefficient (NTC). A PTC thermistors resistance increases with temperature increase, and vice-versa, whereas a NTC thermistor’s active resistance decreases with temperature increase and vice-versa. Others segments includes digital resistors and photoresistors among others. Potentiometer was the largest segment in 2015 and can be expected to retain the top position in 2024. By end-use, the variable resistors market is segmented into aerospace & defense, automotives, industrial, consumer electronics and others. Consumer electronics was the largest segment in 2015, owing to the high growth of demand for such devices globally which in turn led to higher application of variable resistors in those electronic devices. The global variable resistors market has been further segmented into five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle-East & Africa (MEA) and Latin America. By revenue, Asia Pacific had the largest market share in 2015, followed by North America and Europe. The higher market share of Asia-Pacific can be attributed to the presence of large number of local manufacturers of variable resistors, coupled with higher growth in manufacturing sectors and faster growth of consumer electronics market.