Optoelectronics, sensors, and discretes saw record year in 2011, beat IC growth

March 22, 2012 — Strong demand for micro electro mechanical system (MEMS)-based sensors, CMOS image sensors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), fiber-optic laser transmitters, and power transistors enabled the optoelectronic, sensor/actuator, and discrete (OSD) semiconductors market to grow by 8% in 2011, hitting a new record revenue of $57.4 billion, according to IC Insights’ 2012 Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes (O-S-D) Report.

Collective sales growth of OSD devices (8.4%) surpassed IC growth (0.4%) in 2011, and has in 3 of past 4 years. OSDs will grow faster than the IC market in 2012 as well, for the third straight year. Collectively, OSD devices accounted for 17.9% of the world’s $320.8 billion in semiconductor sales in 2011 compared to 14.7% of total revenues in 2001. OSD products are expected to represent about 18.2% of the world’s $339.0 billion semiconductor market in 2012, based on IC Insights’ forecast. OSD revenues will grow at a 2011-2016 CAGR of 10.6%, while IC sales are expected to rise by an annual average of 9.4%.

OSD growth was not steady throughout 2011 — most product categories saw "a substantial pullback" toward the end of the year. In 2012, expect 7% growth in total OSD sales to $61.6 billion, with nearly all product categories experiencing modest growth.

Figure. Optoelectronics, sensors, and discretes (OSD) market growth. SOURCE: IC Insights.

2012 growth rates by segment:
Acceleration/yaw sensors +21%
laser transmitters +18%
pressure sensors +15%
magnetic-field sensors +14%
actuators (+11%)

The sensor/actuator market is projected to grow at the highest rate among the semiconductor segments in the forecast period with its CAGR being 16.4% between 2011 and 2016.  IC Insights anticipates stronger and more consistent growth in the sensor/actuator market due to higher volume shipments of these devices in consumer electronics and portable systems.  In addition, the automotive industry continues to gain strength after the 2008-2009 recession, and that is adding additional stability and growth momentum to the sensor/actuator market segment.

Solid-state lamps grew 16% in 2011, driven by high-brightness LED (HB-LED) adoption. This application will grow another 10% in 2012, hampered by price erosion from a buildup of inventories, slow LED-backlit display applications growth, and slow adoption of room-lighting products worldwide. Expect relatively slow sales growth in high-brightness white LEDs until 2014, when solid-state lights finally price in the same range as conventional lighting products in mainstream end-user markets, says IC Insights.
Motion-activated user interfaces, embedded automatic controls, and location-aware features in cellphones and portable electronics will continue to drive up sales of sensors built with MEMS technology. MEMS products like accelerometers and gyroscopes will products hit the $6 billion revenue mark in the next 5 years.

Power transistors and related discrete semiconductors are climbing steadily to record sales levels, shows the OSD report’s 5-year forecast, with drivers in the spread of battery-operated electronics, renewable energy systems, hybrid and electric vehicles, and the global emphasis on reductions in electricity consumption. The discretes segment, which is composed of low-priced commodity devices, actually outperformed the market growth of ICs in 2006-2011. The discretes sales volume grew at a 5-year CAGR of 5.6% compared to 3.3% CAGR in IC revenues. By 2016, power transistors are expected to account for 60% of total discrete sales.

CMOS image sensors shook off excess inventories and pushed beyond $6 billion in sales with 29% growth in 2011. CMOS image sensors are also expected to see another wave of strong growth from new imaging applications and machine-vision designs, which will include automotive safety systems and intelligent surveillance networks.

The 2012 edition of the O-S-D Report includes detailed analysis of trends and growth rates in the optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes market segments. The seventh annual edition of the report contains a detailed forecast of sales, unit shipments, and selling prices for more than 30 individual product types and categories through 2016. View http://www.icinsights.com/services/osd-report/ for more information.

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