Yole on Camera Module Industry

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Yole Developpement report "Camera Module Industry Market and Technology Trends 2017" has quite a lot of observations and forecasts:

Mobile rear photography camera is still the main driver of the camera module industry that reached $23.4 Billion in 2016 and that will reach $46.8 Billion by 2022.
  • VCM players producing the autofocus (AF) and optical image stabilization (OIS) mechanisms have had to adapt to the huge production volume and low cost requested by the smartphone industry. This led to a huge restructuring effort that resulted in a move from Japan and Korea to China and Vietnam. Companies like New Shiko and TDK were the big winners, but this activity’s attractiveness has since declined.
  • For image-sensor makers and lens-set makers, the situation is reversed. In these sub-markets, leaders Sony and Largan have enjoyed quasi-monopolies. This situation is ending though, since the competition is now catching up in terms of technology.
  • Camera module makers have thrived, but are hugely dependent on customer loyalty. For example, LG Innotek reclaimed its crown this year, but feared a collapse when it lost Apple orders.
  • One last trend in the ecosystem is illumination modules’ emergence. Since some of the new camera modules now require active illumination, they must be combined with an LED or structured light emitter. This is a new technology set for acquisition by camera module makers.
The average cost for a mobile camera module has remained relatively constant, but complexity has risen dramatically, with high-end VCMs and active alignment now mandatory on the latest modules. Currently, total camera module value per phone is almost proportional to the number of cameras; two cameras is $16, three cameras is around $24, and the cost for four cameras exceeds $30 per handset.

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