First decline in CMOS image sensor sales in 13 years is expected.

According to IC Insights, the bad global economy, a dip in smartphone sales, and modest camera growth in smartphones will all contribute to the first sales decline in CMOS image sensors in 13 years.

According to IC Insights, CMOS image sensors have had rapid growth over the course of the previous two decades, propelling them to the top of the optoelectronics industry in terms of sales volume. More than 40% of yearly opto-semiconductor sales are CMOS image sensors.

However, according to IC Insights, the CMOS image sensor market category is on course to experience its first dip in 13 years in 2022, with sales predicted to drop by 7% to US$18.6 billion and unit shipments predicted to shrink by 11% to 6.1 billion globally. The CMOS image sensor market is expected to fall in 2022, following two years of mediocre sales growth in 2020 (4%) and 2021 (5%).

After a spike in demand for Internet connections and online conferencing capabilities during the COVID-19 virus pandemic, this year’s sales decline is a reflection of overall weakness in consumer smartphones and portable computers with digital cameras for video conferencing, according to IC Insights.

According to IC Insights, a slight recovery is anticipated in the CMOS image sensor industry for the following year. The market revenue is anticipated to increase by 4% to US$19.2 billion in 2023 and by further 13% to US$21.7 billion in 2024, setting a new record high.

CMOS image sensors have been adversely affected by deteriorating global economic conditions as a result of high inflation and spiking energy costs caused by the Russian war in Ukraine as well as US trade bans on China, recent coronavirus-induced lockdowns in Chinese manufacturing centers, and slowing growth in the number of cameras being packed inside of new smartphones. This is in addition to weak demand in mainstream consumer camera cellphones and portable computers. According to IC Insights, several managers in China have referred to the current state of the image sensor market as a “perfect storm” since it combines a slowdown in shipments of popular mid-range smartphones with an unexpected halt in the growth of integrated cameras being built into new phones.

Sony, the market leader, reported a 12.4% sequential fall in image sensor dollar-volume revenue for the company’s fiscal first quarter 2023, which ended in June 2022. Sony accounted for around 43% of CMOS image sensor sales globally in 2021. In the first half of 2022, Sony struggled to meet the picture-resolution specifications for camera phones, and US trade embargoes reduced its sales of CMOS image sensors to top Chinese system manufacturers. In the second half of the current fiscal year, Sony continues to predict that excess inventories of smartphones and image sensors would be removed by early 2023 and that market conditions will “normalize” (ending next March).

Cellphones currently consume about two-thirds of CMOS image sensors, and IC Insights predicts that percentage will drop to roughly 45% by 2026. A fresh smartphone upgrade buying cycle and more embedded cameras being integrated in other systems, especially for automotive automation capabilities, medical applications, and intelligent security networks, are predicted to propel a slow-but-steady recovery in CMOS image sensors. Sales of CMOS image sensors are predicted by IC Insights to increase at a CAGR of 6% from 2021 to 2026, reaching US$26.9 billion in the projection year. Unit shipments are anticipated to increase by a CAGR of 6.9% from 2021 to 2026, totaling 9.6 million units.


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