17 Dec 2012

IC Insights: digital camera growth down as embedded imaging sales rise

In 2012, camera phones with 3M pixel or greater image sensors were outselling stand-alone digital still cameras by a 6:1 ratio, reports IC Insights in its 2013 report, "A Study of Emerging and Major End-Use Applications Fueling Demand for Integrated Circuits".

Machine vision, automotive, medical, and other applications have been driving growth.

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.

According to the analyst firm, 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.

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.

These include 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, predicts IC Insights.

Total shipments of digital cameras and embedded imaging systems are forecast to 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.

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