Optoelectronics sales outpacing integrated circuits

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—According to a new report from IC Insights, sales of optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discrete (O-S-D) components are now outpacing sales of integrated circuits (ICs) in the semiconductor market.

May 1st, 2008

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—According to a new report from IC Insights, sales of optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discrete (O-S-D) components are now outpacing sales of integrated circuits (ICs) in the semiconductor market. After lagging IC market growth in the 1980s and most of the 1990s, O-S-D sales began increasing at a stronger rate 10 years ago. By 2012, total O-S-D sales are expected to exceed $66 billion compared to nearly $38 billion in 2007, according to the 2008 edition IC Insights’ O-S-D Report, A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.

In addition, by 2012 optoelectronics sales are now expected to exceed discrete revenues by nearly 36%. Phenomenal growth in optoelectronics is being driven by several product categories within the optical semiconductor segment, including image sensors, solid-state lamp devices, and laser transmitters .

Although smaller and oftentimes overlooked, the O-S-D market plays a vital role in the overall health and advancement of the semiconductor and electronic systems industries. According to IC Insights, the O-S-D markets account for about 15% of total semiconductor revenues, and their combined revenues are increasing at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 13% per year between 2002 and 2012. Covered in the new report are some of the industry’s fastest growing product categories and manufacturing technologies, such as CMOS image sensors, MEMS-based sensors/actuators, laser transmission devices, high-brightness LEDs, microphone chips, fingerprint sensors, and new power transistors used in portable electronics, power supplies, and automotive electronics, such as hybrid electric vehicles.

IC Insights’ 2008 O-S-D Report uncovers little-known but revealing trends in this marketplace and sheds light on the rapidly increasing importance of these devices. For example, the O-S-D Report shows that, in 2007, for the first time in history optoelectronics virtually matched the traditional discrete semiconductor product type as the industry’s largest market segment behind ICs.

Other important changes are also underway in semiconductors outside of mainstream ICs. Solid-state sensors and actuators have become the industry’s fastest growing product segment. Moreover, fiber-optic transmission devices are staging a dramatic recovery since the last telecom recession and have become the fastest growing category in optoelectronics.

The report also notes that in 2007, combined sales of CCD and CMOS image sensors declined 7%, the first annual decline in this market segment since 2001, according to IC Insights. This decline is primarily the result of inventory corrections in camera phones during the first half of the year and some weakness in industrial applications such as machine vision for manufacturing systems and optical scanners in office equipment. Between 2002 and 2007, overall image sensor sales rose by a CAGR of 35%, driven by CMOS-based camera cell phones and CCD-dominated digital still cameras. According to IC Insights, CMOS image sensor sales are forecast to rise 19% in 2008 to $4.4 billion after falling 12% in 2007, while CCDs are expected to decline 1% in 2008 to $3.2 billion compared to 0% growth in 2007. The primary application drivers behind these numbers are consumer electronics, automotive, medical, and security applications.

This year’s image sensor recovery will provide a lift to overall optoelectronics sales, which are now forecast to grow 10% in 2008 to $17.5 billion after declining 2% in 2007, according to the 2008 O-S-D Report. —Kathy Kincade

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