Report: CMOS image sensors remain a hot market

Omnivision’s OS04A10 image sensor attains 4 megapixel resolution, enabling security cameras to maintain high performance in all lighting conditions.
CMOS image sensors, such as this one from Omnivision, will continue to undergo robust market growth in both unit sales and revenue. (Omnivision)

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.

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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.

CMOS Image Sensors Keep Hitting Record-High Levels

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