With tight supplies of widely used power transistors and diodes driving up prices and new optical-imaging applications moving into more systems, the diverse marketplace for optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discrete semiconductors (O-S-D) is on pace to grow by 11% for the second year in a row in 2018 and set a ninth consecutive record-high level in combine annual revenues worldwide. Â An update to IC Insightsâ€™ O-S-D forecast shows total sales across the three market segments reaching $83.2 billion this year, followed by 9% growth in 2019, when revenues are expected to hit an all-time high of $90.6 billion (Figure 1).
In 2017, O-S-D revenues grew 11% with total unit shipments also rising 11%, but in 2018, combined sales of optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes are expected to increase by about 11% with overall unit volumes rising 9% and average selling prices (ASPs) for products in the three market segments being nearly 1.5% higher this year. Â Shortages of power transistors, diodes, and other widely used commodity parts in 2018 are expected to drive up total discrete ASPs by nearly 8% this year and result in a strong 12% increase in sales to a record-high $27.6 billion from the current peak of $24.6 billion set in 2017.
Optoelectronics sales are forecast to rise nearly 11% in 2018 to reach an all-time high of $40.9 billion, with unit shipments climbing 18% this year, but the ASP in this market is expected to decline by about 6% because of falling prices for some image sensors, infrared products, lasers, optocouplers, and lamp devices, which are mostly light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Â Optoelectronics sales are getting a tremendous boost from sharply higher demand for light sensors, which are used in automatic controls of displays in smartphones and other systems, heart rate monitoring, proximity detection, and color sensing. Â Light sensors along with infrared and laser transmitters are also seeing strong growth in new three-dimensional depth scanning systems and time-of-flight (ToF) cameras, which use reflected light to sense distances and are appearing in more smartphones and other applications for face recognition, 3D imaging, and virtual/augmented reality applications.
Following strong growth of 16% in both 2016 and 2017, total revenues for non-optical sensors and actuators are expected to rise 7% in 2018 to a record-high $14.8 billion with unit volume being up just 5%â€”the lowest rate of increase in 10 yearsâ€”because of inventory adjustments in several product categories, low smartphone growth, and some production constraints. Â Strong automotive sensor demand has propped up total sensors/actuator sales growth and helped lift ASPs by 2%â€”the first rise since 2010.