Wednesday, May 12, 2021

IC Insights: CMOS Sensor Sales to Grow 2x from 2020 to 2025

IC Insights: The high-flying market for CMOS image sensors hit a speed bump in 2020 with the global outbreak of the Covid-19 virus crisis significantly cutting sales growth in this large optoelectronics product category to 3% last year compared to an annual average of nearly 16% since 2010.

When the Covid-19 virus pandemic accelerated in the first half of 2020, businesses, schools, travel, and most public activities were shut down worldwide, causing a nosedive in CMOS image sensor applications—including smartphones, automobiles, and a wide range of embedded cameras, which are increasingly used in commercial and industrial systems.  It ended up that 2020 was Sony’s worst year for image sensor growth since it began emphasizing CMOS technology over CCDs in 2006.

With the global economy expected to regain momentum in 2021 and more digital cameras being designed into systems—including new 5G smartphones and machine-vision applications, sales of CMOS image sensors are projected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.0%, reaching $33.6 billion in 2025.  Total shipments of CMOS image sensors are forecast to grow by a CAGR of 14.9% to 13.5 billion units in 2025 compared to 6.7 billion in 2020.

The automotive systems are said to be the fastest growing application for CMOS image sensors in the next five years, with sales rising by CAGR of 33.8% to reach $5.1 billion in 2025.  After that, the highest sales growth rates in the five-year forecast are:  medical and scientific systems (a CAGR of 26.4% to $1.8 billion); security (a CAGR of 23.2% to $3.2 billion); and industrial, including robots and the Internet of Things (a CAGR of 21.8% to $3.5 billion).  CMOS image sensor sales for cellphones—the largest end-use application—are forecast to grow by a CAGR of 6.3% to $15.7 billion in 2025, or about 47% of the market total versus 61% in 2020 ($11.6 billion).


  1. If I recap, IC Insight said CIS would go down 4% YoY and it ended going up 3% in 2020. Therefore instead of the $26B 5-year horizon (2024) they move the needle upward toward $33B (2025), this is a radical move. I remain very skeptical of the large growth they believe in 2021, there is too much shortage issues, shortages means less products being sold even if their price might go up, so growth should remain timid (below 10%) in 2021 at least below the 20-25% they think of. Then for the large growth cycle up to 2025, again I do not understand what would be the underlying trend that would power such a growth, IC Insight always underestimates the weight of mobile in CIS. In the end I think their previous estimate of $26B in 2024 was a better forecast, being taken on the wrong foot in 2020 have them doing the wrong move in 2021. In the forecasting business short term issues are always over weighted, and long term issues under weighted.

  2. links for a "reality check" of the predictions of the last few years ;-)








    2021 (=this posting):

  3. I'm glad someone posted past predictions. These "analyst" reports always seem to project that some product (image sensors, rubber bands, wooden shoes, whatever) will experience huge, sustained growth in the next two years.

    I think these reports are purchased mainly by start-ups looking for "independent" information to sway potential investors.

    1. And to put the blame on someone else if the market doesn't materialize.

      I remember spending a week many years ago with a researcher from a very famous consulting company who knew near zero about what the market we were in was doing. He asked me a lot of questions for which I made up plausible answers favorable to us. Most of the content of his report came from that interview.

      Even farther back, I had a friend who, just out of college with an industrial engineering degree, got a job with a famous market research company. When he got his assignments, he would make up everything (he was a very good writer and later became a lawyer). They published the results unedited. He said he only had to make the projections and explanations look like the stuff they had already published because that is what would sell.

      As someone above has pointed out, the product and market are irrelevant.

  4. While this is certainly true for much to many analysts nowadays, IC Insights is one of the few reputable ones. Just the fact that there are datasets available for the last 7 years speaks for them. And if you take a real look at the data provided you can see that they actually underestimate the market growth most of the time:


  5. the hockey stick is always rising 2-3 years away from now :)

  6. Past reports (see 2015) don't look like overestimate to me. On the contrary


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