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Sensors, Actuators and Discretes IC to Set Record-high Annual Sales This Year

Published: Oct 31,2017

More than a dozen product categories in optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discretes semiconductors (O-S-D) are on track to set record-high annual sales this year, according to a new update of IC Insights’ 2017 O-S-D Report.

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Driven by the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), increasing levels of intelligent embedded controls, and some inventory replenishment in commodity discretes, the diverse O-S-D marketplace is having a banner year with combined sales across all three semiconductor segments expected to grow 10.5% in 2017 to a record-high $75.0 billion, says the O-S-D Report update.

In 2017, above average sales growth rates are being achieved in all but one major O-S-D product category—lamp devices, which are now expected to be flat in 2017 because of continued price erosion in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for solid-state lighting applications. Figure compares annual growth rates in five major O-S-D product categories, based on the updated 2017 sales projection.

For the first time since 2014, all three O-S-D market segments are on pace to see sales growth in 2017. Moreover, 2017 is expected to be the first year since 2011 when all three O-S-D market segments set record-high annual sales volumes, according to IC Insights’ update.

The 2017 double-digit percent increase will be the highest growth rate for combined O-S-D sales since the strong 2010 recovery from the 2009 semiconductor downturn that coincided with the 2008-2009 financial crisis and global economic recession. Total O-S-D revenues are now forecast to reach a ninth consecutive annual record high level of $80.5 billion in 2018, which will be a 7.4% increase from 2017 sales, says the O-S-D Report update.

After a rare decline of 3.6% in 2016, optoelectronics is recovering this year with sales now projected to grow 8.1% in 2017 to an all-time high of $36.7 billion, thanks to strong double-digit sales increases in CMOS image sensors (+22%), light sensors (+19%), optical-network laser transmitters (+15%), and infrared devices (+14%).

Meanwhile, record-high revenues for sensors and actuators are being fueled by the expansion of IoT and new automated controls in a wide range of systems—including more self-driving features in cars. Sensors/actuator sales are now expected to climb 17.5% in 2017 to $13.9 billion, marking the strongest growth year for this market segment since 2010.

Sales of sensors and actuators made with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology are forecast to rise by 18.5% in 2017 to a record-high $11.6 billion. The O-S-D Report update shows all-time high sales being reached in 2017 with strong double-digit growth in actuators (+20%), pressure sensor, including MEMS microphone chips (+18%), and acceleration/yaw sensors (+17%).

Even the commodity-filled discretes market is thriving in 2017 with worldwide sales projected to rise 10.3% to $24.1 billion, which will finally surpass the current peak of $23.4 billion set in 2011. Sales of power transistors, which account for more than half of the discretes market segment, are forecast to grow 9.0% in 2017 to a record-high $14.0 billion, according to the new O-S-D Report update.

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