New Features to Drive Double-digit Sales Growth for Sensors

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Semiconductor sensor sales will achieve double-digit growth rates and record-high dollar volumes each year through 2016 as more system products gain the ability to automatically control and protect themselves, understand movement, detect changes around them, and support new user interfaces, says IC Insights’ 2012 Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes (O-S-D) Report. The new report shows sensor sales growing 18% in 2012 to $5.7 billion, surpassing the $4.8 billion record set in 2011.

Since the late 1990s, annual sensor sales have declined only once, slipping just 2% in the 2009 downturn before surging 53% in the 2010 recovery year. The solid-state sensor market grew 21% in 2011. Between 2011 and 2016, worldwide sensor sales are expected to increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%, growing to $10.9 billion in the final forecast year, according to the new report.

Within the sensor market segment, accelerometers and gyroscope devices (i.e., acceleration and yaw sensors) continue to be the largest fiand fastest-growing product category, with dollar volumes projected to increase by a CAGR of 20% to $5.9 billion in 2016 compared to $2.4 billion in 2011. Sales of magnetic-field sensors, such as Hall-effect devices and electronic compass chips, will grow by a CAGR of 16% to $2.7 billion in 2016 from $1.3 billion in 2011, according to IC Insights' O-S-D Report. Pressure sensor sales are expected to rise by a CAGR of 15% to $2 billion in 2016 from about $1.0 billion in 2011.

Accelerometers and gyroscope devices, along with most pressure sensors, use microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) structures to measure and detect changes around them. MEMS-based devices now account for about 70% of total sensor revenues compared to 54% in 2005. According to the report, MEMS-based sensors sales will grow by a CAGR of 19% between 2011 and 2016. Sensors are part of a broader semiconductor market segment that also includes actuators, such as micro-mirror devices, surface-acoustic wave (SAW) filters, microfluidic chips, inkjet nozzle components, and other MEMS-based products that initiate physical actions from electronic signals. Sensor sales accounted for 56% of this market’s overall sales in 2011, while actuators represented 44%, or $3.7 billion, last year. MEMS-based actuator sales are expected to grow by a CAGR of 15% to $7.5 billion in 2016, according to the new O-S-D Report’s five-year forecast.


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