IC Insights: CIS Market Sets Records

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IC Insights: Despite an expected slowdown in growth this year and in 2020, the CMOS sensor market is forecast to continue reaching record-high sales and unit volumes through 2023 with the spread of digital imaging applications offsetting weakness in the global economy and the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war.

IC Insights is forecasting an 11% rise in CMOS sensor shipments in 2019 to a record-high 6.1b units worldwide, followed by a 9% increase in 2020 to 6.6b when the global economy is expected to teeter into recessionary territory, partly because of the tariff-driven trade war between the U.S. and China. In 2018, CMOS image sensor revenue grew 14% to $14.2b after climbing 19% in 2017. CMOS sensor sales have hit new-high levels each year since 2011 and the string of consecutive records is expected to continue through 2023, when sales reach $21.5 billion.

Worldwide shipments of CMOS image sensors also have reached eight consecutive years of all-time high levels since 2011 and those annual records are expected to continue to 2023, when the unit volume hits 9.5b. China accounted for about 39% of all image sensors purchased in 2018 (not counting units bought by companies in other countries for system production in Chinese assembly plants). About 19% of image sensors in 2018 were purchased by companies in the Americas (90% of them in the US.)

Camera cellphones continue to be the largest end-use market for CMOS image sensors, generating 61% of sales and representing 64% of unit shipments in 2018, but other applications will provide greater lift in setting annual market records in the next five years. The automotive systems being the fastest growing CMOS sensor application, with dollar sales volume rising by a CAGR of 29.7% to $3.2b in 2023, or 15% of the market’s total sales that year (versus 6% in 2018). After that, the highest sales growth rates in the next five years are expected to be: medical/scientific systems (a CAGR of 22.7% to $1.2b); security cameras (a CAGR of 19.5% to $2.0b); industrial, including robots and the Internet of Things (a CAGR of 16.1% to $1.8b); and toys and games, including consumer-class virtual/augmented reality (a CAGR of 15.1% to $172M).

CMOS sensor sales for cellphones are forecast to grow by a CAGR of just 2.6% to $9.8b in 2023, or about 45% of the market total versus 61% in 2018 ($8.6b). Revenues for CMOS sensors in PCs and tablets are expected to rise by a CAGR of 5.6% to $990M in 2023, while sensor sales for stand-alone digital cameras (still-picture photography and video) are projected to grow by a CAGR of only 1.0% to $1.1b in the next five years.

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