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© ic insights Analysis | July 05, 2017

Nonstop CMOS image sensor sales records seen through 2021

Embedded imaging applications in cars, security, machine vision, medical, virtual reality, wearable systems, and other new uses will offset slow growth in camera phones, says IC Insights report.
CMOS image sensor sales are on pace to reach a seventh straight record high this year and nothing ahead should stop this semiconductor product category from breaking more annual records through 2021, according to IC Insights.

After rising 9 percent in 2017 to about USD 11.5 billion, worldwide CMOS image sensors sales are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 percent to USD 15.9 billion in 2021 from the current record high of USD 10.5 billion set in 2016.

After strong growth from the first wave of digital cameras and camera-equipped cellphones, image sensor sales leveled off in the second half of the last decade. However, another round of strong growth has begun in CMOS image sensors for new embedded cameras and digital imaging applications in automotive, medical, machine vision, security, wearable systems, virtual and augmented reality applications, and user-recognition interfaces.

Competition among CMOS image sensor suppliers is heating up for new three-dimensional sensing capability using time-of-flight (ToF) technology and other techniques for 3D imaging and distance measurements. ToF determines and senses the distance of faces, hand gestures, and other things by measuring the time it takes for light to bounce back to sensors from emitted light (often an infrared laser or LED). CMOS technology has progressed to the point of supporting integration of ToF functions into small chip modules and potentially down to a single die. Sony, Samsung, OmniVision, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, and others have rolled out and developed 3D image sensors. Infineon has also jumped into the image sensor arena with a 3D offering that is built in ToF-optimized CMOS technology.

Automotive systems are forecast to be the fastest growing application for CMOS image sensors, rising by a CAGR of 48 pecent to USD 2.3 billion in 2021 or 14 percent of the market’s total sales that year. CMOS image sensor sales for cameras in cellphones are forecast to grow by a CAGR of just 2 percent to USD 7.6 billion in 2021, or about 47 percent of the market total versus 67 percent in 2016 (USD 7.0 billion).

Smartphone applications are getting a lift from dual-camera systems that enable a new depth-of-field effect (known as “bokeh”), which focuses on close-in subjects while blurring backgrounds—similar to the capabilities of high-quality single-lens reflex cameras.

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August 22 2017 10:36 AM V8.6.0-1