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May 08, 2013


Annual Sales Records Continue for Acceleration/Yaw Sensors

Unit volumes climb and competition intensifies as average selling prices for MEMS-based accelerometers and gyroscope devices fall below $1.00.

The high-flying acceleration and yaw sensor product category was brought back to earth in 2012 when price erosion pulled down annual sales growth to 7%—the lowest percentage increase for motion-sensing semiconductors since 2005, according to IC Insights’ new 2013 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.  Despite slower growth, acceleration/yaw sensors—which are accelerometers and gyroscope devices primarily made with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology—reached record-high sales of $2.54 billion in 2012, surpassing the previous peak of $2.37 billion in 2011, when market revenues rose 27%.

The new O-S-D Report shows acceleration/yaw sensor sales rising 12% in 2013 to $2.84 billion, followed by a 19% increase in 2014 to $3.39 billion (see figure).  Between 2012 and 2017, acceleration/yaw sensor sales are projected to rise by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6%, reaching $5.47 billion in the final year of the forecast period. In the 2007-2012 period, acceleration/yaw sensor sales grew by a CAGR of 23.8%, according to the new 2013 O-S-D Report.

Since the 1990s, the use of MEMS-based accelerometers and gyroscope devices has expanded from automotive safety systems (primarily in car-crash airbag triggers and electronic stability controls for steering and braking) to new sensing applications in cellphones, tablet computers, video-game controllers, media players, and other portable consumer products.  A growing number of low-cost inertial sensors are being used to embed automated controls in portable products and support higher levels of system “intelligence,” based on measurements of movement.  Multi-axis accelerometers and gyro devices are also being used together and combined with other types of sensors (such as magnetic-compass chips, pressure sensors, and light sensors) for multi-dimensional measurements in highly adaptive, intelligent systems that employ “sensor-fusion” software to simultaneously processes data from different devices.

With acceleration/yaw sensors moving into more high-volume systems applications, revenues for MEMS-based inertial devices have reached new record-high levels each year since 2005, based on IC Insights’ market data. Acceleration/yaw sensor sales crossed the $1.0 billion level for the first time in 2008, and three years later, in 2011, the market’s revenues passed the $2.0 billion mark.  The new O-S-D Report’s forecast shows acceleration/yaw sensor sales crossing the $5.0 billion level in 2017, just three years after surpassing $3.0 billion in 2014.

Acceleration/yaw sensor unit shipments are also growing at strong annual rates, reaching a record-high volume of 2.75 billion devices in 2012, which was a 20% increase from the previous peak of 2.30 billion units in 2011.  IC Insights is forecasting a 20% increase in acceleration/yaw sensor shipments in 2013 to 3.30 billion units worldwide. However, average selling prices (ASPs) of inertial sensors are also falling fast.  In 2012, ASPs fell 10% to below $1.00 for the first time partly due to intense competition between device suppliers aiming to serve high-volume applications.  The new O-S-D Report projects that acceleration/yaw sensor ASPs will drop another 7% in 2013 to $0.86.  In the next several years, ASPs are expected to stabilize, resulting in an average annual decline of 2% between 2012 and 2017, according to the new report.

Report Details:  The 2013 O-S-D Report

In a one-of-a-kind study, IC Insights expands 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 350-page O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes.

Now in its eighth annual edition, the 2013 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 2017. The 2013 O-S-D Report (with more than 230 charts and figures) is available for $3,090 for an individual-user license and $6,190 for a multi-user corporate license.

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