Quantum Technologies – Ready for take-off at last?

Quantum Technologies – Ready for take-off at last?

March 15, 2024

As they finally come of age, Quantum Technologies and supporting Technologies could be poised for a decade and a half of lucrative growth


by Carina Kiessling

After waiting in the wings seemingly forever, quantum technologies have at last proven their ability to deliver benefits in practice, not just in theory. Having crept up to a market volume of just USD 1 billion by 2021, a fifty-fold increase is projected between now and the end of the decade. Is this just more of the same old hype? Or is there more substance to such eye-watering predictions? A new Roland Berger publication outlines the current structure of the quantum market, details future prospects for two of its main segments, and provides valuable recommendations for players keen to participate in this exciting growth market.

Structure of the quantum market – Where to look for growth

Roland Berger’s report describes the advances in information processing that have given rise to four distinct segments of the quantum technology market. Two of these will account for the bulk of growth going forward, though their relative weighting will shift from the shorter to the longer term. From a present perspective, the report also explains why the other two key segments look set to remain attractive but comparatively niche markets.

"Harnessing molecular quantum computing to ramp up information density by several orders of magnitude has the potential to vastly accelerate data processing."
Portrait of Wilfried Aulbur
Senior Partner
Chicago Office, North America

Quantum computing

Quantum computers are currently driving the market and account for more than 40% of the overall market – a proportion is projected to rise to 50% by 2030.

Outlining the broad spectrum of operating platforms available for quantum computers, the report discusses whether the varying architectures and construction methods in use today will ultimately crystallize into a single ‘market standard’, or whether and why heterogeneous designs might continue to coexist. It also explains the concept of qubits that is fundamental to existing quantum computers and that opens up a potential virtually unlimited array of possibilities and spells out the benefits and drawbacks of producing and using quantum chips, e.g., based on semiconductor fabrication techniques.

The latest ‘game-changing’ principles and promise of molecular quantum computers – documented in Nature magazine in December 2023 – are likewise explored, examining how this embryonic technology could lead to more powerful computers with very versatile qubit connectivity.

The step change in information density that could result from this molecular approach is discussed in detail. However, a clear case is made that many challenges – surrounding the stability of laser and photonic components, but also the need for an ultracold processing environment in extremely powerful vacuum chambers – remain to be overcome along the path to technical and commercial feasibility.

Supporting technologies

Supporting technologies essentially provide the infrastructure – cooling equipment, vacuum pumps and laser and optical systems, for example – that enables quantum technologies to be produced and operated. This crucial role has already won them more than a third of today’s quantum market. However, thanks to the spread of automation, they are expected to roughly double this share and outpace even quantum computer growth in the decade after 2030.

Roland Berger´s publication outlines how the ability to use some of these supporting technologies across multiple quantum applications allows providers to realize both production synergies and handsome returns – all without the need for profound expertise in quantum technologies themselves. For obvious reasons, venture capital firms already have this potentially highly lucrative market firmly in their sights.

Investment outlook and recommendations for would-be players

Initial funding out of the public purse has increasingly given way to a larger influx of private money. Total investments have tripled since 2020. As more and more quantum technologies come of age, the report thus points to attractive opportunities for early movers.

Chinese investors alone currently account for roughly half of total global funding in this field of technology, with both the EU and the US lagging way behind. The latter two regions clearly have a lot of ground to make up if they wish to be serious players on the world’s quantum stage. The new Roland Berger report thus concludes with practical recommendations on how quantum computer companies and providers of supporting technologies in particular can take advantage of substantial VC activity to position themselves now for very strong market growth in the years ahead.

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Further reading