ICinsights: Sensor sales slow, hindering OSD growth

A year after the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, causing global lockdowns and a severe global recession, demand has rebounded in many end markets and prices for parts that are in short supply have risen sharply. However, optoelectronic sales growth slowed in 2021 due to sluggish growth in CMOS image sensors, partly due to trade frictions between the U.S. and China.

Global sales of optoelectronics, sensors/actuators and discrete devices (OSDs) are expected to grow 18% to $104.3 billion this year from $88.3 billion in 2020, according to ICinsights, a semiconductor market that has grown amid the Covid-19 virus outbreak Less than 3% in 2022, according to IC Insights’ report, total OSD sales will grow 11% to $115.5 billion in 2022 (figure). OSD products account for about 18% of total global semiconductor sales, with the remainder (82%) coming from integrated circuits. Twenty-five years ago, less than 13% of semiconductor revenue came from OSD products.

  ICinsights: Sensor sales slow, hindering OSD growth

Since the mid-1990s, the OSD market group has gradually accounted for a higher share of semiconductor revenue due to steady and often strong annual growth in sensors, actuators, CMOS image sensors, laser emitters, and high-brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs). OSD sales are driven by the explosion of mobile systems (especially smartphones with digital cameras and sensors), high-speed communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the recent explosion of embedded artificial intelligence (AI).

Optoelectronics sales in 2021 are expected to grow 10% to a record $48.4 billion, compared to $44 billion in 2020, which would be flat with 2020. The entire optoelectronics market is expected to be hindered by a mere 7% sales growth of CMOS image sensors this year. CMOS image sensor leader Sony blamed the U.S.-China trade war and “deteriorating product mix” for slower growth in 2021. Sales of CMOS image sensors have also been impacted by market fluctuations in some end-use applications and shortages of ICs and other components used in digital imaging systems.

Total sales of non-optical sensor and actuator devices are expected to grow nearly 27% in 2021 to an all-time high of $20.9 billion, while revenue in 2019 rose 11% to $16.5 billion. Worldwide discrete device revenue is expected to surge about 26% to $35 billion in 2021 — the fourth-largest annual percentage increase in the commodity-laden semiconductor segment in the past 40 years — and grow less than 3% to $278 in 2020 One hundred million U.S. dollars.

In 2021, the economy rebounded from the 2020 coronavirus-driven recession, and a broad recovery in semiconductor demand overwhelmed chipmakers and the global supply chain, resulting in lead times of more than four or five months for many OSD products, compared with the normal six Market conditions by eight weeks. About a dozen commodity and widely used OSD product categories are expected to show very high sales growth this year, primarily due to strong average selling price (ASP) growth and high demand for units as many system manufacturers ( including automakers) struggling to keep up with their own market recovery. A total of 16 OSD product categories and segments are expected to record all-time high sales levels in 2021 – the highest level in a year (2018) since 2000.

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