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Electronics Production | February 27, 2007

Opto-Sensor-Discrete market outpaces ICs

The market for optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discrete (O-S-D) devices grew 10% in 2006, to $38.2 billion, slightly exceeding the 9% growth of the integrated circuit (IC) market.
Sales of optoelectronics devices were $16.3 billion and represented 43% of the overall O-S-D market. Discrete sales were $16.6 billion (43%) and sales of sensors/actuators were $5.3 billion (14%).

Although sometimes overlooked, the $38.2 billion O-S-D market was greater in size than the total analog market, and the headline-grabbing DRAM, MPU, and flash memory markets (Figure 1). In fact, the O-S-D market was nearly twice the size of the flash memory market.



The optoelectronics market increased 9% in 2006, and for the first time ever, optoelectronics sales caught up with standard discrete semiconductor sales. This was a significant milestone considering that optoelectronics sales were only one-fourth to one-half the dollar volume of discrete semiconductors in the 1980s and 1990s.

Broader sales of ICs have certainly not slowed the discrete market, which also grew 9% in 2006. Power transistors and other discretes are widely used in power management, switching power supplies, and battery-charging systems of portable electronic systems such as laptop PCs, PDAs, and cell phones.

Sensors/actuators, the smallest segment of the 2006 O-S-D market, grew 18% in 2006. Since 2001, sensor products have recorded a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) about 1.5 times the CAGR of IC revenues and three times the annual growth rate of discretes. MEMS-based products account for 80% of the revenues in the sensor/actuator segment.

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