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Virus Crisis Hits Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes

Published: May 06,2020

When 2020 began, global conditions pointed to single-digit percentage market growth this year for optoelectronics, sensors and actuators, and discrete semiconductors (known collectively as O-S-D devices), but the outlook suddenly deteriorated in the first quarter due to the worldwide outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

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The virus crisis deepened by the end of March, resulting in IC Insights cutting its 2020 semiconductor forecast and changing the growth outlook for the next five years. The revised forecast is contained in IC Insights’ new 2020 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes, which shows total O-S-D sales falling 6% this year, ending a decade-long string of record-high annual sales.

The new O-S-D Report‘s semiconductor forecast model assumes containment in the virus pandemic by the middle of 2020 and a gradual turnaround in product markets during the last half of this year and into 2021. Total O-S-D sales are now expected to drop to $80.9 billion in 2020. The new forecast cuts about $9.1 billion of sales from IC Insights’ preliminary 2020 projection for the O-S-D markets before the outlook was downgraded at the end of March (Figure 2). However, the new forecast shows total O-S-D sales rebounding in 2021 with sales growing 9% to set a new record-high combined total of $88.1 billion.

Optoelectronics and sensors/actuators both reached record-high sales in 2019, according to the O-S-D Report. Optoelectronics sales increased 9% in 2019 to $44.1 billion while the normally high-flying sensors/actuators market barely grew by about 1% to $14.9 billion. Discretes sales ended three consecutive years of growth, falling 0.9% to $27.1 billion in 2019.

The forecast in the new report shows optoelectronics sales dropping about 6% in 2020 to $41.7 billion; the sensors/actuators market sliding 4% to $14.2 billion; and discretes revenue falling 8% to $25.0 billion this year. IC Insights expects optoelectronics and sensors/actuators sales to rebound by about 10% in 2021, reaching new record highs of $45.8 billion and $15.7 billion, respectively. Discretes sales are projected to grow 7% in 2021 to $26.7 billion but will not set a new record high until 2022.

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