A downturn in the electronics market and concerns about foreign tariffs have not slowed down the booming market for CMOS image sensors. Sales of CMOS image sensors are projected to rise 9% in 2019 to an all-time high of $15.5 billion, followed by a 4% increase in 2020 to $16.1 billion, according to IC Insights report “2019 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.”
According to IC Insights, unit shipments of CMOS image sensors are expected to rise 11% in 2019 to reach a record-high 6.1 billion units worldwide, followed by a 9% increase in 2020 to 6.6 billion. Unit shipments have continued to hit new highs every year since 2011, says IC Insights.
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 U.S.), the report said.
Not surprisingly, cameras in mobile phones remain the largest end-use market for CMOS image sensors, accounting for 61% of sales and 64% of unit shipments in 2018. However, the report expects automotive systems to become the fastest growing CMOS image sensor application, with sales rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.7% to $3.2 billion in 2023, comprising 15% of total market sales by then. Medical/scientific systems, security cameras, industrial, and toys and games will be the other growing markets, according to IC Insights.
IC Insights expects cell phones to comprise 45% ($9.8 billion) of total CMOS image sensor sales by 2023, compared to 61% in 2018 ($8.6 billion). Revenues for CMOS image sensors in PCs and tablets are expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.6% to $990 million in 2023, while sensor sales for stand-alone digital cameras will slow to a 1.0% CAGR to reach $1.1 billion by then.