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December 14, 2012

 

Embedded Imaging Takes Off as Stand-alone Digital Cameras Stall

Machine vision, automotive, medical, and other applications now fuel growth.

It took digital cameras less than 10 years to virtually eliminate film photography from the consumer market in the last decade.  Almost as quickly, camera-equipped cellphones have played a major role in ending the meteoric rise of stand-alone digital cameras.   For most consumers, camera phones have become more than adequate for taking photographs and capturing video clips.  In 2012, camera phones with 3Mpixel or greater image sensors were outselling stand-alone digital still cameras by a 6:1 ratio, according to IC Insights’ new 2013 edition of IC Market Drivers—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits.

With camera phones proliferating and making it easy to instantly share digital photos over the Internet or share as attachments to transmissions, annual revenues for stand-alone digital cameras have been on the decline since 2007. Worldwide unit shipments of digital still cameras, which peaked in 2011 at 142 million systems, are expected to decline 3% in 2013 to 133 million after falling 4% in 2012, says the new IC Market Drivers report.

The lack of digital camera growth has shifted a great deal of the IC industry’s attention in digital imaging from stand-alone photography products to new applications and embedded systems, such as enhanced machine vision for automotive safety and industrial equipment, intelligent video surveillance networks, medical imaging, and small camera modules for smartphones, tablet computers, and other portable devices.  The total market value for digital cameras and imaging systems is expected to grow from $55.5 billion in 2012 to $77.8 billion in 2016.  In doing so, this market will shift from being heavily dependent upon stand-alone cameras to being more evenly spit across several end-use equipment segments (see Figure).

 

In the new report, IC Insights forecasts total shipments of digital cameras and embedded imaging systems will reach 6.0 billion units in 2016 compared to 2.5 billion in 2011, which represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.0% in the five-year period.

IC revenues for embedded digital cameras and imaging systems—excluding stand-alone cameras—are expected to reach $24.6 billion in 2016 and grow by a CAGR of 16.2% from $11.6 billion in 2011.  In contrast, IC sales for stand-alone digital cameras are expected to remain nearly flat in the forecast period, slipping to $10.1 billion in 2016 compared to $10.3 billion in 2011, which is a CAGR decline of 0.6%, according to the 2013 report.

Report Details: IC Market Drivers 2013

IC Market Drivers 2013—A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits examines the largest, existing system opportunities for ICs and evaluates the potential for new applications that are expected to help fuel the market for ICs.

The 485-page report is divided into two parts.  Part 1 provides a detailed forecast of the IC industry by system type, by region, and by IC product type through 2016.  In Part 2, the IC Market Drivers report examines and evaluates key existing and emerging end-use applications that will support and propel the IC industry through 2016.  Some of these applications include the automotive market, cellular phones (including smartphones), personal/mobile computing (including tablets and Ultrabooks), wireless networks, digital imaging, and a review of many applications to watch—those that may potentially provide significant opportunity for IC suppliers later this decade.  The 2013 IC Market Drivers report is priced at $3,190 for an individual-user license and $6,290 for a multi-user corporate license.


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