Mobile & Consumer

FROM SMART HOMES TO AUGMENTED REALITY: CONSUMER ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET TRENDS

The consumer electronics market is known for its constant innovation in providing devices that have become essential in our everyday lives. Laptops, tablets, smartphones; smartwatches, wearables and hearables; smart home appliances and home assistants; televisions and gaming consoles; digital cameras, drones, virtual reality and augmented reality devices… At Yole Group, we are analyzing multiple consumer electronics systems according to inherent functionalities that match specific emerging applications – mobile systems, wearable, computing hardware, home automation, entertainment… This way we can better anticipate and analyze the semiconductor content of these high-volume products and chart their evolution over time.

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SEMICONDUCTOR IN THIS AREA

The consumer electronic applications have become the markets where most of the innovations linked to electronic and semiconductor devices are happening: the need of new functionalities and ever-increasing performances combined with the high volume production and lower price quarter after quarter…are the huge hurdle that semiconductor suppliers (and their supply chain) needs to overcome in order to stay in the market.

From image sensors to data processing, from power electronics to photonics, from More than Moore to Moore’s law, from packaging to front end manufacturing… all these devices and their related supply chain are in constant evolutions in order to attract our attention and pushing us to buy more consumer electronic products. Be able to understand the combination of consumer demand, strategic evolutions of the OEMs combined with the technology and product development and target production costs is essential.

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An ongoing revolution in consumers’ pockets

Consumer electronic products means 100s of millions or few billion units to be produced every year… Billions of mobile phone, with a renewal cycle of 12 months, 100s of millions laptops and wearables, 10s of millions of augmented and virtual reality systems… the number of units to be produced every year to satisfy consumer needs explain the level of investment, both from the manufacturing capacities point of view but also linked to development cycle speed that needs to be implemented.

Consumer electronics is also demanding in terms of innovation: as a matter of fact, a large number of the innovations related to the semiconductor devices are now developed first for consumer electronics applications. New packaging platforms like FanOut (for application processors), chip stacking (for image sensors)… as well as new functionalities like face recognition, large diffusion of Artificial Intelligence (AI)… came to production because of the choice of OEM makers to implement such technologies and functionalities.

As an impactful consequence, more and more OEMs, traditionally relaying on their suppliers to get access to new functionalities, are now developing and designing by their own chips. Those players are organizing the production with a set of suppliers they are selecting. This is the other revolution of the consumer electronics industry.

Our Vision

Accounting for consumers’ technology taste

For over 20 years, we at Yole Group have been forecasting and analyzing this technical progress by following development at both the system level as well as the semiconductor level. Through market research, reverse engineering and reverse costing, by analyzing technologies’ evolution, we deliver a deep understanding of the potential paths and developments offered by semiconductor technologies, companies, and the supply chain.

Recently, with the smartphone era inching towards the top of the curve, the industry has started seeking “the next big thing” – that sweet spot at which technology meets technical requirements, applications and market opportunities. Everyday, Yole Group is actively tracking on this consumer market through numerous interactions with all supply chain stakeholders, from R&D all the way through to the OEMs, and whether they’re in 5G market research or the augmented reality supply chain.

The leading players in the industry are large and well-known companies such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, and Sony. They create a wide range of products – from personal audio equipment to home automation systems – that answer directly to consumers’ needs. With yearly shipments of many billions of units per year, they are driving semiconductor innovations in terms of new features and new technologies, but also through supply chain adaptation.

The consumer electronic industry drives the biggest volume of modules and components in Radio Frequency, MEMS, imaging and CiS, power modules and display, processors and memories, making it as a strategic segment for semiconductor manufacturers. With unpredictable consumer tastes on the demand side, delays and disruptions on the supply side, and production challenges in the middle, the high rate of technology evolution requires impressive investments. And with no guarantee of proportional returns, this means that operation across global markets is fundamental to achieving economies of scale.

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At the core of consumer technology innovation and supply chain

Evaluating, understanding and anticipating the movements of the consumer electronic market are highly valuable for existing players of the semiconductor field – or whoever wants a piece of the pie.
Our teams are on hand to help you make sense of the ever-evolving technology innovation. We also have the capability to give you a comprehensive vision of the changing supply chain and expected evolutions of the production costs. We help you identifying and analyzing the links between new semiconductor devices, emerging technologies and performances evolutions. We detail the way to integrate such devices in modules and systems, as well as the new functionalities, triggered at the OEM level to define your technical roadmap, the related supply chain. We serve you to increase value generation and get a better understanding of your competitive landscape. Deeply engaged on the understanding of the consumer electronic industry, Yole Group helps you to maximize your growth.