What is the status of the CIS industry today?

28th June 2016
Posted By : Daisy Stapley-Bunten
What is the status of the CIS industry today?

Driven by renewed mobile and automotive applications, the CIS industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 10.4% from 2015 to 2021, reaching $18.8bn market value by 2021.Yole Développement (Yole), the ‘More than Moore’ market research and strategy consulting company, expects sustained growth of the CIS 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. What is the status of the CIS industry today? What will be the impact of the disruptive technologies? Beyond the technical challenges, who will be the winners? Under the Status of the CMOS image sensor industry 2016: New market & technology dynamics report, Pierre Cambou, Activity Leader, Imaging & Sensors at Yole and Jean-Luc Jaffard, formerly at STMicroelectronics and part of Red Belt Conseil both pursue their investigation and propose you to discover the latest market & technology trends.

This 2016 edition comprehensively covers key market and technology choices, announces Yole. Indeed with this new technology and market report, the consulting company proposes a powerful analysis of the CIS applications with a relevant market segmentation and detailed technology roadmap. Yole also points out the related sensor technologies per application and analyse the market positioning of the major CIS firms. This report presents the main drivers and challenges of the CIS industry.

One big story in 2016 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 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,” comments Pierre Cambou from Yole. “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.

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“The CIS industry has become an attractive part of the semiconductor industry, generating more than $7bn of mergers and acquisitions last year”, asserts Pierre Cambou. 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 in 2015 include:
    • The purchase of Axis by Canon for $2.8bn
    • Fairchild by On Semiconductor for $2.4bn
    • And Omnivision by a Chinese investor consortium for $1.9bn
  • 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 $5.9bn.

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Sony truly demonstrated its leadership in 2015. Its capital expenditure hit $2bn, 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 Yole expects 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 monetise 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.

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Under this new report, Yole’s analysts give a global overview of key markets and technologies for CIS. It shows the present situation and the dynamic forces shaping the future.

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