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© vinnstock dreamstime.com Analysis | November 24, 2014

Overall growth of Opto, Sensors, Discretes market back on track

The worldwide market for optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discrete semiconductors (O-S-D) appears to be returning to a new state of “normal” after struggling to maintain momentum over the past few years, following the strong 2010 recovery from the 2009 downturn.
O-S-D sales increased just 1% in both 2012 and 2013, but overall market growth has strengthened and is on track to rise 9% in 2014 to reach a new record-high $63.8 billion from the previous annual peak of $58.6 billion set in 2013. Combined revenues in the O-S-D segments, which now account for about 18% of total semiconductor sales, are forecast to grow another 8% in 2015 to reach a sixth consecutive record-high level of $68.9 billion.

Between 2013 and 2018, combined O-S-D sales are projected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% to reach $81.5 billion, with 2017 being the only year in the forecast period not expected to set an annual record due to the next anticipated economic slowdown. The projected rate of growth in the forecast period is slightly better than the 6.4% CAGR recorded for O-S-D sales in the last five years (2008-2013), which encompassed the 2008-2009 economic recession. Total O-S-D sales are expected to return to normal growth rates between now and 2018, but the devil is in the detail.

Optoelectronics is expected to continue to be the most consistent growth segment in the O-S-D marketplace during the next several years, primarily due to strong demand for CMOS image sensors in a wide range of embedded applications (such as image recognition, medical, video-surveillance networks, and automotive systems) and climbing sales of laser transmitters for high-speed optical communication networks. However, optoelectronics growth has been dampened in recent years by price erosion in lamp devices due to the build up of worldwide capacity for high-brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are becoming cheaper for solid-state lighting applications in homes, businesses, outdoors, and automobiles.

The other two O-S-D segments—sensor/actuator products and discrete semiconductors—are climbing out of their two-year slump. During the past several years, sensors and actuators have been the fastest growing semiconductor market segment but double-digit percentage sales increases in this category came to a screeching halt in 2012 when high-flying demand for acceleration and yaw-rate sensors slowed and average selling prices (ASPs) fell by 10%. Accelerometers and gyroscopes (movement-measuring devices) are expected to remain the largest sensor product category through 2018 but faster-growing pressure and magnetic-field sensors are forecast to gain marketshare over the next four years.

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