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Transformation of the mobile camera function - CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2016 report Yole Développement

Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2016

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New functions are pushing change in CMOS image sensors, boosting the market toward $18.8B in 2021 at 10.4% CAGR


Driven by renewed mobile and automotive applications, the CMOS image sensor (CIS) industry is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% from 2015 to 2021, reaching US$18.8B market value by 2021.

Yole Développement expects sustained growth of the CMOS image sensor industry for the next five years. Increasing camera content in smartphones will more than offset slower smartphone volume growth. The trend for dual and 3D cameras will have a major impact on CIS volumes. While it is too early to fully describe the strategy of the main actors yet, some products are already on the market. The 2016 report comprehensively covers key market and technology choices.

One big story this year is the consumer market, which is recovering from the total collapse of digital photography. While action cameras seem to have reached a ceiling, new applications such as drones, robots, virtual reality and augmented reality are ready to rejuvenate this emblematic market. The Automotive camera market has established itself as a key growth market for CIS. The Advanced Driver Assistance (ADAS) trend is further increasing pressure on vendors to provide sensors beyond their current technical capabilities. Image analysis is the new frontier and early usage of artificial intelligence is catching people’s imagination. We are therefore in the middle of an explosive growth pattern that will not slow down before 2021. An exceptionally high 23% CAGR is predicted in automotive for the 2015-2021 period.

For similar reasons to automotive, namely increasing usage of image analytics and improved performance and productivity, the security, medical and industrial market are currently thriving and all deserve specific analysis.

For all these different CIS market segments our 2016 report will provide updated details about applications, volume and revenues as well as technical analysis.

Transformation of the mobile camera function - CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2016 report Yole Développement


Big moves in the CIS industry have greatly modified the competitive landscape. Sony is now a market, production and technology leader. Samsung and Omnivision have remained strong. Notable mergers and acquisitions this year include the purchase of Axis by Canon for $2.8B, Fairchild by On Semiconductor for $2.4B and Omnivision by a Chinese investor consortium for $1.9B. Other notable news items are the sale of Toshiba’s CIS business to Sony for $155M and in 2016 Toshiba’s medical business to Canon for $5.9B.

Sony truly demonstrated its leadership in 2015. Its capital expenditure hit $2B, a level never seen before. That Sony has 50% of the world’s production capacity with ‘only’ 35% global market share shows its ambition. Its current lack of profitability shows that market pressure is extremely high. It is also in the middle of key transformative changes to adapt to the impressive growth of the last five years. Nevertheless we expect competition in CIS will remain relatively open as long as the growth pattern is maintained and key technology changes occur almost every other year.

SK Hynix is a great example of how quickly a prominent position can be obtained. The company has propelled itself into the top 10 in very little time. It has been able to monetize the increasing resolution of smartphone front-facing cameras, therefore capturing business from Galaxycore and Omnivision.

Navigating through this pivotal time is difficult. Giant tech companies seem to rise and fall overnight. This report gives a global overview of key markets and technologies for CIS. It shows the present situation and the dynamic forces shaping the future.

CMOS image sensor player rankings 2016 - CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2016 report Yole Développement


As in our last report we extensively cover the switch toward backside illumination (BSI) and stacked BSI technologies. These have been major breakthroughs and are still shaping competition and market dynamics today. The stacked BSI approach is particularly interesting for production, as it separates pixel array technology from the digital part at a time when sensors are integrating ever more features, such as Autofocus (AF) and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).

The two key drivers for the main smartphone camera are:

  • Size in the X, Y and Z dimension of the camera module
  • Image performance, in particular resolution, low light performance, focus and stabilization

Performing well in these two areas, dual camera technology will be a game-changer, grabbing significant market share in a short time and driving CIS industry volume and revenue. Another important change is brewing on the front face of the smartphone, driven by human-to-machine interface technology.

It is important to understand the implications of dual and 3D sensing cameras, which are part of the computational revolution. Our report will provide the updated knowledge you need to navigate these uncharted waters.

Roadmap for immersive and interactive imaging technologies - CMOS 2016 report Yole Développement


This report’s objectives are to:

Identification and analysis of CIS applications:

  • Determination of the range of applications
  • Market and technology segmentation
  • Market trends and forecasts
  • Key players market description

Analysis and description of the sensor technologies involved:

  • Sensor forecast by application and technology
  • Major global actors
  • Technology trends
  • Main drivers and challenges


  • Updated market landscape and forecast
  • Recent M&A activity
  • Dual and 3D camera strategies
  • Application review by market segment
  • New analysis field: Virtual reality and Augmented reality
  • Updated technology roadmap toward Hybrid Backside Illumination
  • Key advances in CMOS image sensors
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  • Glossary    2
  • Table Of Contents    3
  • Report Objectives     5
  • Methodology    7
  • Companies Cited     11
  • Executive Summary    12

 Introduction     28

  • Historical perspective
  • Market segmentation
  • 2015 CIS market landscape by application
  • 2015 CIS market landscape by player

Market Forecast    40

  • Revenue breakdown
  • 2010 – 2021 CIS volume shipment (in Munits)
  • 2009 – 2020 CIS revenue forecast (in $M)
  • 2009 – 2020 Wafer production (in 12”wafer eq.)
  • BSI penetration forecast
  • 200mm (8”) to 300mm (12”) transition forecast

Ecosystem    53

  • Recent consolidation
  • M&A activity
  • Ecosystem mapping
  • Geographic mapping

Players and rankings

  • Revenue rankings
  • Volume rankings
  • Revenue breakdown by player
  • Revenue market share in mobile
  • Revenue market share in digital photography
  • Revenue market share in tablets
  • Revenue market share in laptop PC
  • Revenue market share in automotive
  • Revenue market share in security & surveillance
  • Revenue market share in medical X ray
  • Revenue market share in machine vision

Mobile market trend    79

  • Consumer tech device forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Mobile market forecast
  • Market drivers
  • Resolution mix
  • Dual camera trend
  • Number of cameras per smartphone forecast

Consumer Market Trend    102

  • 2010 – 2021 Consumer photography market  forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Action camera market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 VR and AR market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Wearable and smartwatch market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Personal robotics market forecast

Other Market Trend    112

  • 2010 – 2021 Computing market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Automotive market forecast
  • Automotive market drivers
  • 2010 – 2021 Medical CIS market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Security and surveillance market forecast
  • 2010 – 2021 Machine vision market forecast

Technology trend    128

  • Image sensor specifications
  • BSI technologies
  • Samsung S7 focus
  • PDAF and LDAF approaches
  • Key advances

Conclusions     152

Company Profile    155

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