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Analyst warns of image sensor market slide

Posted: 24 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image sensor? market forecast? CMOS?

Strategies Unlimited cautioned that the image sensors market will drop 11 percent to $6.4 billion in 2009, assured that more normal growth will then return.

The average growth rate will be in single-digit percentages in coming years, following a decade up to 2009 of 22 percent compound annual growth, the market analysis firm said.

The 2009 decline is being driven by the global economic cycle and such cycles will have a stronger effect going forward, particularly as the explosive growth due to the adoption of cameras in mobile phones has reached near ubiquity.

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.

Japan used to dominate image sensor production, and still manufactures over 90 percent of the world's CCDs, according to Strategies Unlimited. 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, the analyst said.

Meanwhile, Korean and Taiwanese suppliers are gaining market share, especially for camera-phones. Samsung grew 61 percent from 2006 to 2008, placing it among the top suppliers. Other Korean and Taiwanese companies include: 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.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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