CMOS Image Sensor Sales Stay on Record-Breaking Pace


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The spread of digital camera applications in vehicles, machine vision, human recognition and security systems, as well as for more powerful camera phones will drive CMOS image sensor sales to an eighth straight record-high level this year with worldwide revenues growing 10% to $13.7 billion, following a 19% surge in 2017, according to IC Insights’ 2018 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes. The new 375-page report shows nothing stopping CMOS image sensors from continuing to set record-high annual sales and unit shipments through 2022.

CMOS image sensors continue to take marketshare from charge-coupled devices (CCDs) as embedded digital-imaging capabilities expand into a wider range of systems and new end-use applications, says the 2018 O-S-D Report.  With the smartphone market maturing, sales growth in CMOS image sensors slowed to 6% in 2016, but strong demand in other imaging applications played a major factor in boosting revenues by 19% to $12.5 billion last year.  Sales of CCD and other image sensor technologies fell 2% in 2017 to about $1.6 billion after rising 5% in 2016, according to the new IC Insights report.

Overall, CMOS image sensors grabbed 89% of total image sensor sales in 2017 compared to 74% in 2012 and 54% in 2007.  Unit shipments of CMOS imaging devices represented 81% of total image sensors sold in 2017 compared to 64% in 2012 and 63% in 2007.  New CMOS designs keep improving for a variety of light levels (including near darkness at night), high-speed imaging, and greater resolution as well as integrating more functions for specific applications, such as security video cameras, machine vision in robots and cars, human recognition, hand-gesture interfaces, virtual/augmented reality, and medical systems.

In new smartphones, CMOS image sensors are also seeing a new wave of growth with the increase of dual-lens camera systems (using two sensors) for enhanced photography.  Cellular camera phones accounted for 62% of CMOS image sensor sales in 2017, but that marketshare is forecast to slip to 45% in 2022.  Automotive CMOS image sensors are projected to grow the fastest among major end-use applications through the five-year forecast shown in the new O-S-D Report, rising by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.4% to about 15% of total CMOS image sensor sales in 2022 ($2.8 billion) while camera phone-generated revenues are expected to rise by a CAGR of just 2.2% to $8.6 billion that year.

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