IMS Research reports that automotive camera module supplier base is consolidating so that not all suppliers are benefiting from the strong market growth. The two leading suppliers of front camera modules, Gentex and Continental, have increased their combined share from 49% in 2010 to 58% in 2011. This has obviously been at the expense of the remaining supplier base, in particular the smaller ones with market share of less than 3%.
Helena Perslow, Senior Analyst at IMS Research is not surprised. "Gentex and Continental have both been active in this market since the very beginning and have managed to carve leading positions in their respective niches. As the market grows, we believe it will become increasingly difficult for smaller suppliers to increase their share of the market. There is a steep learning curve in the automotive camera market and OEMs highly value a strong track record in what is essentially a safety application."
What Perslow is saying is good news for established suppliers who already have long-standing relationships with OEMs and are familiar with the industry. However, those smaller suppliers with a market share under 2-3% may struggle to fully benefit from the strong market growth expected.
Looking ahead, in the coming 12 to 18 months the list of leading suppliers is unlikely to change significantly. However, Gentex and Continental face different challenges. Gentex, the market leader, is currently focused on just one specific front camera application - automatic high beam control. Continental, on the other hand, has several front camera applications and combinations available on the market. As the market develops, the number of applications on mass market vehicles will multiply and different combinations will emerge and grow in popularity. Continental looks well placed to benefit from this trend, whilst Gentex will need to diversify to develop new applications if it is to maintain its share of the overall automotive camera market.