A brave new MEMS world: a $18.2B market by 2026

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The MEMS market will grow due to new opportunities in audio for microphones, microspeakers and inertial MEMS, AR/VR for optical MEMS, and other emerging applications.

“Last year when COVID-19 erupted, the effects on various industries were felt immediately, which in turn had an after-effect on the MEMS business. But the crisis did not impact all end-markets the same way.” asserts Jérôme Mouly, Team Lead Analyst, Sensing & Actuating at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group. He adds: “The MEMS market relies heavily on consumer applications, which are 62% of the total market, and the automotive industry, which is 16% of the total market. We therefore expected that last year the MEMS market would suffer due to COVID-19’s negative effects on end-system shipments of smartphones and cars. But this was not the case. MEMS sensor sales recovered during H2 2020”.

Titre du visuel

june 2021

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Thematic(s) :

Manufacturers resumed refilling their inventories after signs of stabilization and recovery in key end markets. In fact, the strong demand for consumer MEMS has completely offset the automotive industry slow-down. Therefore, the MEMS market was worth almost US$12.1 billion in 2020, up more than 2% from the year earlier.
After a weak 2019 and 2020, Yole’s analysts expect the market to grow by 11% in 2021, reaching US$13.4 billion. After that, high-single digit growth will increase annual MEMS revenue to US$18.2 billion by 2026.

In this context, Yole investigates disruptive technologies and related markets in depth, to point out the latest innovations and underline the business opportunities.
Released today, the Status of the MEMS Industry 2021 report updates 2020’s volumes, ASPs and market sizes. It provides an overview of the best future growth opportunities for MEMS and explores the ecosystem development product-wise and funding-wise and details the main stakeholders involved. This study also summarizes the status of the 2021 MEMS industry in a thorough manner, taking into account the trends for each application separately.

As analyzed by Yole’s team in the new Status of the MEMS Industry 2021 report, this promised growth could be delivered by new emerging technologies and opportunities, with a few notable ones such as:
• Microphones and inertial MEMS in wearables and particularly TWS earbuds. This is driven by the need for better sound capture using microphones and VAD, noise reduction with accelerometers for voice detection and bone conduction. 3D Audio is being pushed forward by Apple and will probably jump to Android devices, causing a surge in demand for IMUs.
• Gas sensors and environmental combos, integrated in wearables or in automotive in-cabin air monitoring. These help monitor indoor and outdoor air quality around users, as they become more concerned about the air they breathe, and especially due to COVID-19.
• Optical MEMS for LiDAR and AR/VR. Revenue in this sector might still be weak in five years’ time. However, opportunities lie beyond this horizon, as the ADAS/AV and AR/VR markets further develop.
• PMUT devices, which are used in ultrasonic fingerprinting. PMUTs are also used as a replacement for physical buttons and haptics in smartphones and cars. CMUT devices are also very promising for the consumerization of low-cost ultrasound imaging, close to the PoC.
• MEMS microspeakers, which should show their advantages in TWS in-ear designs first, replacing older electrodynamic or balanced armature speakers.
• MEMS-based sensor-shift OIS. This which could replace the flexible PCB -based sensor shift used for the first time in the iPhone 12 Pro’s camera module. It may also enter other camera modules in other handsets or consumer devices.

According to Dimitrios Damianos, Senior Technology & Market Analyst at Yole: “The pandemic, global lockdowns and the US-China trade war heavily impacted the supply chain of the semiconductor industry. A proper development strategy has therefore become the key to success”.
Some players profited from the crisis and some didn’t, leading to significant changes in our global MEMS ranking. Bosch, Broadcom, Qorvo, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, Goermicro (Goertek), HP, Knowles, TDK and Infineon now comprise the top-10 with at least US$6.5 billion combined revenues, more than half of the total market. However, the companies that increased their revenue were not necessarily the ones holding the biggest market shares.
• Companies related to COVID-19 prevention technologies, such as thermal imaging and sensing or pressure sensors, grew strongly last year. For example, Guide IR, FLIR Systems, Lynred, which sells microbolometers, and Melexis, which sells thermopiles, profited due to the increase demand for elevated body temperature measurement application while Amphenol saw its pressure MEMS grow due to demand for respiratory end-systems like ventilators and CPAP machines.
• Broadcom and Qorvo grew strongly last year, providing highly reliable RF MEMS filters for 5G deployment, which was stronger than expected. SiTime is continuing to push strongly for replacement of traditional quartz timing solutions with its MEMS-based timing products.
• AAC and Goermicro (Goertek) profited from a fruitful MEMS microphone demand environment. For the first time in 15 years, the MEMS microphone leader Knowles has been replaced by Goermicro.
• Companies with business both in consumer and automotive like Bosch, STMicroelectronics and TDK, were able to offset potential negative effects from automotive due to the impressive consumer MEMS business and the pick-up in demand during H2 2020. Infineon has entered the top 10.

On the technology side, piezoMEMS are devices that should be watched closely.
According to Pierre Delbos, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole: “PiezoMEMS devices will be getting more attention, as optical MEMS (micromirrors) for AR/VR and LIDAR applications ramp up. Besides that, piezoMEMS are used in RF MEMS, inkjet heads, PMUTs and increasingly used to build more robust inertial sensors and microphones. Foundries have been continuously adding AlN and PZT capabilities.” He adds: “Besides that, MEMS market challenges are evolving. In the past, focus was on product shrinking, price decrease and volume increase. Today, the requirements are changing with use cases being more important while different sensors must fuse with software. Power consumption must fall at the system level even though significant data processing is needed, especially for always-on applications like audio/voice HMI.”
There is a growing movement toward a mix of competencies across the supply chain, from front-end manufacturing to packaging, the modules and the integration of systems. The move to a system level approach and the integration of different components like MEMS, ASICs , antennas and power sources that use different materials and processes in the same housing, is creating needs for more sophisticated SiP technologies, with the goal to increase system level performance and decrease overall power consumption.

Finally, Yole’s analysts are starting to witness the first signs that the devices could emulate and sense their environment with human-like capabilities, using the five best-known senses in a “phy-gital” meta-world. The final step for MEMS would be to evolve from simple deterministic data-collection sensors to more empathic data-interpretation machines. Devices could discern and predict user moods, feelings and emotions, responding and reacting to needs and intentions, much like some humans are empathic

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