Image sensors expected to grow in 2010, but with single-digit average rate

OCTOBER 13, 2009-- According to a new report from Strategies Unlimited, the market for image sensors will decline to $6.4 billion in 2009, but growth is expected to return in 2010.

OCTOBER 13, 2009--According to a new report from Strategies Unlimited (Mountain View, CA, USA;, "Image Sensors: Market Review and Forecast - 2009," the market for image sensors will decline to $6.4 billion in 2009, a drop of 11% from 2008 and the first decline since the analyst firm began tracking the market in 1997. Growth is expected to return in 2010, but the average growth rate will be in the single digits in coming years, following more than a decade of 22% compound annual growth.

Global impact on forecast
The firm's report shows that the current global economic cycle is driving a temporary decline, but cycles will have a stronger effect going forward, now that "the perfect convergence of forces" leading to rapid growth in image sensor revenues for camera phones is maturing. According to the report, there will still be growth in unit sales in coming years for image sensors overall, but short-term fluctuations in demand, periods of oversupply and shortage, and severe price pressure will make it more challenging to stay competitive than before.

Regional markets
Japan used to dominate world image sensor production, and still manufactures more than 90% of the world's CCDs. CCDs continue to dominate in digital still cameras and security cameras. Even so, Fujifilm stopped production of image sensors for its line of cameras in 2007. Sony is thinking of stopping its production of CMOS arrays for camera phones, and Panasonic has already done so, according to Strategies Unlimited.

Korean and Taiwanese suppliers are gaining market share, especially for camera phones. Samsung grew 61% from 2006 to 2008, placing it among the top suppliers. Analysts are also seeing increased competition from other Korean and Taiwanese companies, such as SETi, SiliconFile Technologies, and PixArt Imaging. Hynix re-entered the image sensor business in the second half of 2008. These companies are focusing on the China handset market.

"Image Sensors: Market Review and Forecast - 2009" is the fifth in a series by Strategies Unlimited. It includes all image-sensing applications in the visible spectrum, including scintillator-coated arrays for x-ray radiography. The study draws on Strategies Unlimited's interviews with suppliers in Japan, Korea, the US, and Europe.

-- Posted by Carrie Meadows, Vision Systems Design,

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