Powered by the seemingly recession-proof performance of the mobile phone and consumer electronics segments, the market for Microelectromechanical (MEMS) sensors is set to return to growth in 2010 after two straight years of decline, according to iSuppli Corp. Approaching a point close to the historical peak of 2007, MEMS revenue this year is projected to reach $6.54 billion, up 11.1 percent from $5.88 billion last year. The double-digit expansion predicted for 2010 compares to a decline of 6.8 percent posted in 2009, on top of a 3.6 percent contraction in 2008, iSuppli figures show. The market will continue to expand through 2014, when it will have grown another $3.3 billion to hit $9.8 billion — equivalent to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.7 percent throughout the 2009-2014 period.
The above figure shows iSuppli’s MEMS revenue forecast from 2006 to 2014, with revenue dipping in 2008 and then bottoming out in 2009 as a result of the global recession.
The expected rise in MEMS revenue this year will mirror an equivalent increase in MEMS unit shipments, anticipated to reach 4.14 billion units, up from 3.44 billion units in 2009. Overall, MEMS shipments will log an impressive 19.5 percent CAGR to top 8.5 billion units by 2014, iSuppli data indicate.
“MEMS production is back on the fast track,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at iSuppli. “Beginning in September 2009, MEMS manufacturing began to grow at a rate that came close to the high-level mark set three years ago in 2007. In particular, the MEMS market is being fueled by the continuing might of MEMS applications for consumer electronic devices and mobile handsets. These two sectors bulldozed their way through the economic crisis, in the process cementing their status as the new locomotive for MEMS.”
By 2014, Bouchaud said both sectors will generate $3.2 billion in value, accounting for 32 percent of total MEMS market revenues.
MEMS sensor production for automotive applications likewise remains high, with the market set to rebound in 2010 after a fall last year. Factors stimulating the growth of automotive MEMS include anticipated stronger shipments of cars from 2010 to 2014, mandates in the United States and Europe for vehicular safety systems, and continuing regulation in the reduction of harmful emissions.
Also enjoying robust growth is the high-value MEMS market for the industrial, medical and aerospace-defense sectors. With a projected CAGR of 13.7 percent from 2009 to 2014, the MEMS market for these segments will be worth $2.3 billion at the end of the forecast period, iSuppli data show.
Among MEMS devices, three segments will exceed the $1 billion mark this year, and two others will be close to joining that list by 2014.
Inkjet printheads will remain the dominant-selling MEMS device from now until the end of 2014, with revenue exceeding $2 billion that year. However, growth in this segment is stagnating and will experience dwindling shipments as the market transitions from disposable to permanent printheads.
Rounding out the top 5 — along with their projected revenue in 2014 — are accelerometers, in second place with $1.7 billion; pressure sensors, in third with $1.4 billion; gyroscopes, in fourth with $961 million; and optical MEMS for displays, in fifth with $940 million.
For 2011, MEMS displays will make a comeback, thanks not only to pico projectors but also to new types of MEMS flat-panel technologies for portable electronics. MEMS microphones and BAW filters will increase their penetration, while completely new types of MEMS actuators will bring significant additional revenue for switches or varicaps and autofocus for camera phones.
More information: MEMS Back to Double-Digit Growth