Silver is an extremely under-valued asset: Historically, one could buy 15 ounces of silver with 1 ounce of gold; today 1 ounce of gold buys 72 ounces of silver (as of January 2015). See the GOLD: SILVER ratio today.
If we consider the historical trend over millennia, the price of silver should be $86/oz today (gold price divided by 15). On January 20th, 2015, its price was $18/oz.
Silver is one of the rare commodities trading for less than it did in 1980.
Silver is used in a large number of products and industrial applications: mobile phones, digital cameras, computers, iPhones etc. It is the second most-consumed commodity after oil, and there is no substitute for silver.
Silver is largely used in the photovoltaic (solar) industry. Emerging countries, most particularly China, wish to increase their renewable energy production capacities.
This enormous industrial demand, partly responsible for pushing prices up, will not diminish as the price rises because this metal is used in very small quantities in each product. Even a strong increase in the price of silver would not bring a lessening of industrial demand. Contrary to gold (which is recycled), silver, once consumed, is destroyed (at present).
There is monetary demand being added to industrial demand: Silver has been considered as a form of money for centuries, and the destruction of currencies’ purchasing power is contributing to its return as an unavoidable element of a stable monetary system.
As its price increases, gold becomes unaffordable for millions of people (especially in Asia). This is not the case with silver. Millions of people will rush to this metal as they witness the destruction of paper currencies’ purchasing power. This global demand was not there during the last gold and silver boom of the 1980’s... so, potentially, it may be very important.
One phenomenon must be taken into account to understand the potential for silver: There are enormous short positions on the silver market. With silver prices going up, investors/traders holding those positions will have to cover, which will accelerate the price rise.
As with gold, many silver “paper” certificates have been sold without enough physical silver in reserve to satisfy eventual delivery to all holders of such “paper” certificates. This abundant “paper” offer has contributed to limiting the increase of silver prices for years by taking attention away from the physical market. But this rush toward tangible assets (and physical silver) will make those paper certificates (ETFs, etc.) explode, along with the price of silver. Own silver in PHYSICAL form ONLY.