CIS: Q4 2019 went way above forecast but this was before COVID-19 | Quarterly Market Monitor

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Yole Développement (Yole) announces a 37% Q2Q growth for Q4 2019 CIS revenues…

t the end of 2019, the CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) industry overheated with a combination of high demand and high prices due to capacity limitations. Yole’s latest release of its quarterly analysis gives you a detailed picture of this vibrant industry. What is the latest news? What is the status of the market indicators? Is the market really growing/decreasing? What are the revenues of the leading companies? What are their strategies to face the market evolution? The market research & strategy consulting company is unveiling today, within the CIS quarterly monitor, its Q1 2020 analysis.

The extensive growth of CIS has brought this semiconductor specialty to revenues of US$19.3 billion in 2019. The size and dynamics of the main CIS markets and players led Yole’s analysts to the conclusion that a CIS quarterly monitor was essential to monitor and provide a better understanding of the short- and medium-term trends. The five-year forecast will still be delivered annually through annual Yole’s report, Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry. The two products, “Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry” and “CIS Quarterly Market Monitor” are intended to be complementary analyses of the same industry under the Yole imaging research umbrella.

Y2019, the best ever year for the CIS industry

This time reality exceeded Yole’s forecast quite significantly. Yole had predicted revenue of US$17.2 billion for 2019 and this prediction ended 11% below the confirmed numbers for the year. Reflecting on the year’s dynamics, Q1 and Q2 2019 had been underwhelming, both running 6% below expectation in a context of smartphone market saturation and trade war rhetoric. Q3 and Q4 totally reversed the gloomy trend of beginning of H1 2019, the release of exciting smartphones with numerous cameras propelled the CIS industry to undercapacity bringing US$5.7 billion per quarter to the ecosystem.

 “All other markets except mobile” also saw the increase. “Several trends have combined to create the positive sentiment,” explains Chenmeijing Liang, Technology & Market Analyst within the Photonics, Sensing & Display Division at Yole.
“Consumer products are using more and more cameras, Computing (laptop and tablets) are embracing multiple camera approaches, and security is feeling the boost from upcoming 5G.”

After the temporary collapse of investments in the semiconductor and automotive industries in QI Q2 2019, the bottom was reached, and the industrial camera market raised again in Q3 Q4 2019.

Q1 & Q2 2020: short term forecast will be impacted by COVID-19

One thing is certain, the overheating is behind us for at least 1 or 2 quarters. The outbreak of COVID-19 stopped the supply chain for a month in February. It seems slowly to be returning to normal, and Yole’s analysts expect it will take the rest of the year to be fully operational. 2020 will probably look somewhat similar to 2019, and the end of the year will again put the industry under high production strain in order to compensate for the early losses.

“What we cannot predict at Yole is the possibility of a systemic recession,” comments Pierre Cambou, Principal Analyst, Imaging at Yole.
And he adds: “People will still buy smartphones and smart speakers in 2021 so the risk is more a contamination coming from the financial sector than a biological threat.”

The overall aim of Yole’s Quarterly service is to stick to the reality of the market in order to react accordingly. The CIS industry has entered a period of volatility, pushed toward steam and toward ice at the same time. Medium term growth is not under any particular pressure, the industry is expected to grow to US$28 billion in 2025. Growth will slow due to the diminutive return of additional cameras in mobiles, but this is no imminent risk.

Imaging industry: what’s next?

5G! The mobile market is still the key for CIS. 5G competition has been reinforced with the progress of the main Chinese OEMs taking market share from Apple and Samsung. According to the “Made in China 2025” plan, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi will maintain a high level of Chinese based procurement in order to help Chinese based component providers, such as GalaxyCore, OmniVision, Smartsens and GPixel. In contrast, Apple and Samsung, along with Sony, LG, and Google, will lower their dependency on Chinese production. Big OEMs and smaller companies alike are betting on 5G to revive their technology edge and to increase their market share. 5G for Mobile and Security markets will be the big drivers for CIS products in the quarters to come.

Yole’s CIS quarterly market monitors will be published every beginning of March (Q1), June (Q2), September (Q3) and December (Q4). Aim of the Yole’s imaging team is to give a closer look at the main CIS markets and players.

In addition, the imaging team attends a selection of key conferences, trade shows and webcasts throughout the year. These onsite/online events provide opportunities for Yole’s imaging experts to share their vision of the industry and debate with leading players. For example, discover the latest imaging webcast with Pierre Cambou’s presentation: 3D Imaging and Sensing: From Enhanced Photography to an Enabling Technology for AR and VR

About the imaging team at Yole Développement

Pierre Cambou MSc, MBA, is a Principal analyst in the Photonic and Display Division at Yole Développement (Yole). Pierre’s mission is dedicated to imaging related activities by providing market & technology analyses along with strategy consulting services to semiconductor companies. He has been deeply involved in the design of early mobile camera modules and the introduction of 3D semiconductor approaches to CMOS Image Sensors (CIS). Pierre has a broad understanding of the various markets and technologies associated with CIS, having obtained 6 patents in this field and founded one startup company in 2012. 
At Yole, Pierre is responsible for the CIS Quarterly Market Monitor while he has authored more than 15 Yole Market & Technology reports. Known as an expert in the imaging industry, he is regularly interviewed and quoted by leading international media.
Pierre has an Engineering degree from Université de Technologie de Compiègne (France) and a Master of Science from Virginia Tech. (VA, USA). Pierre also graduated with an MBA from Grenoble Ecole de Management (France)

Chenmeijing Liang works as a Technology & Market Analyst within the Photonics, Sensing & Display Division at Yole Développement (Yole). As part of the Imaging team, Chenmeijing contributes daily to analyses of CIS markets, related technologies and market strategies of the leading semiconductor companies, as well as the quarterly reports.
Chenmeijing Liang holds a master’s Degree in the field of Applied physics and Optical engineering from Paris-Saclay University and University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) (Paris, France).

Richard Liu is a Technology and Market Analyst in the Photonics, Sensing & Display division at Yole Développement, part of Yole Group of Companies. Based in Shenzhen (China), Richard is dedicated on imaging activity (Monitors) as well as the development of technology & market reports.
Richard has over 12 years post graduate experience in both of imaging semiconductor and camera module industry, he has the successful track record in developing projects for the tier one smart phone and module makers, which brought him wide industry connection in the CMOS image sensor supply chain and ecosystem Richard graduated from Wuhan University (China) and holds an Electronics Engineering Degree.

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