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IoT Devices Making Inroads into Semicon Revenue

IoT Devices Making Inroads into Semicon Revenue
by Pawan Fangaria on 05-08-2016 at 7:00 am

Last year IC Insights forecasted IOT semiconductor growth rate to be around 19% CAGR for next five years. And within that space, the O-S-D (Optoelectronics, Sensors, and Discrete) semiconductors were expected to grow at a CAGR of 26%, one among the fastest. In 2015, the O-S-D revenue was at $66.6 billion, i.e. ~19% of total semiconductor industry revenue of $353.7 billion. The share of O-S-D revenue in the total semiconductor revenue will continue to be around 20% until 2020. The CMOS image sensors and sensors in general within the O-S-D space command significant share of revenue and they are essential components of IOT devices. We have started seeing an impressive growth rate in revenue from sensors.

Although the overall semiconductor growth rate is moving at snail’s pace, the worldwide CMOS image sensor revenue grew 12% in 2015 to $9.9 billion, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9% for at least another 5 years to reach $15.2 billion in 2020. The image sensor CAGR was higher at 17% in the last five years (2010-15), driven by embedded cameras in phones and other image recognition systems. However, the future trend reveals the growth in image sensors coming from elsewhere and not from cameras phones. On an absolute scale, the camera phones keep the lion’s share of total image sensor revenue, but that will decrease gradually.

It’s interesting to analyze how CMOS image sensors which get into devices to realize IoT applications are cutting the pie of revenue from camera phones. The share of revenue from camera phone image sensors will decrease from 70% of total image sensors revenue in 2015 to 48% of total image sensors revenue in 2020. In absolute terms, the revenue of image sensors from camera phones will grow at a mere 1% CAGR to $7.3 billion in 2020. This is the beauty of semiconductor industry that when Smartphone market is maturing, there are other market segments which are growing to keep the overall semiconductor revenue afloat.

The largest growth in CMOS image sensors is expected to come from automotive industry at a CAGR of 55% reaching $2.2 billion in 2020; that amounts to ~14% of total image sensors revenue. The automotive industry is poised for a big push towards safety from collisions, autonomous driving, video-recording of crashes, rear-view cameras, and so on. All of these require image sensors.

The next major growth in image sensors is expected to come from security and surveillance applications at a CAGR of 36%, and then from medical and scientific applications at a CAGR of 34%. The other areas include industrial systems, video games, and so on; all with double digit CAGR.

Clearly, the IoT connectivity between different devices will increase the usage of image sensors in the ecosystem and that will lead to higher growth in the revenue from image sensors. Although starting with low base, the absolute revenue from image sensors in each of these areas will eventually increase considerably.

What are the other devices witnessing double digit growth rates? They are again related to IoT. Another IC Insight report on O-S-D product categories states about ‘Lamp Devices’ growth rate at 14% in 2015 reaching record revenue of $14.3 billion. There are other devices such as ‘Laser Transmitters’ and ‘Infrared Devices’ which are exhibiting double digit growth rates.

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