Optoelectronics, sensors, actuators and discretes climb again

9th November 2018
Alex Lynn

With tight supplies of widely used power transistors and diodes driving up prices and new optical-imaging applications moving into more systems, the diverse marketplace for optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discrete semiconductors (O-S-D) is on pace to grow by 11% for the second year in a row in 2018 and set a ninth consecutive record-high level in combine annual revenues worldwide.

An update to IC Insights’ O-S-D forecast shows total sales across the three market segments reaching $83.2bn this year, followed by nine percent growth in 2019, when revenues are expected to hit an all-time high of $90.6bn.

In 2017, O-S-D revenues grew 11% with total unit shipments also rising 11%, but in 2018, combined sales of optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes are expected to increase by about 11% with overall unit volumes rising nine percent and average selling prices (ASPs) for products in the three market segments being nearly 1.5% higher this year. Shortages of power transistors, diodes, and other widely used commodity parts in 2018 are expected to drive up total discrete ASPs by nearly eight percent this year and result in a strong 12% increase in sales to a record-high $27.6bn from the current peak of $24.6bn set in 2017.

Optoelectronics sales are forecast to rise nearly 11% in 2018 to reach an all-time high of $40.9 billion, with unit shipments climbing 18% this year, but the ASP in this market is expected to decline by about six percent because of falling prices for some image sensors, infrared products, lasers, optocouplers, and lamp devices, which are mostly light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Optoelectronics sales are getting a tremendous boost from sharply higher demand for light sensors, which are used in automatic controls of displays in smartphones and other systems, heart rate monitoring, proximity detection, and colour sensing.

Light sensors along with infrared and laser transmitters are also seeing strong growth in new three-dimensional depth scanning systems and time-of-flight (ToF) cameras, which use reflected light to sense distances and are appearing in more smartphones and other applications for face recognition, 3D imaging, and virtual/augmented reality applications.

Following strong growth of 16% in both 2016 and 2017, total revenues for non-optical sensors and actuators are expected to rise seven percent in 2018 to a record-high $14.8bn with unit volume being up just five percent, the lowest rate of increase in ten years, because of inventory adjustments in several product categories, low smartphone growth, and some production constraints. Strong automotive sensor demand has propped up total sensors/actuator sales growth and helped lift ASPs by two percent, the first rise since 2010.

Report details: The 2018 O-S-D Report

In a study, IC Insights continues to expand its coverage of the semiconductor industry with detailed analysis of trends and growth rates in the optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes market segments in its newly revised 365-page ‘O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for the Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes’.

Now in its 13th annual edition, the 2018 O-S-D Report contains a detailed forecast of sales, unit shipments, and selling prices for more than 30 individual product types and categories through 2022. Also included is a review of technology trends for each of the segments. The 2018 O-S-D Report, with more than 260 charts and figures, is attractively priced at $3,790 for an individual-user license and $6,890 for a multi-user corporate license.

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