The compact camera module (CCM) market will more than double in the next five years, reaching US$51B by 2020!
Driven by mobile and automotive applications, the CCM industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.8% from 2014 - 2020, reaching a total aggregate revenue of US$51B by 2020.
This is Yole Développement’s first report concerning compact camera modules. We’ve witnessed the camera module ecosystem’s increasing complexity and its significance in respect to the global micro-electronics industry. Compact camera modules, mainly developed for mobile applications, have become technological marvels, bringing together heterogeneous sub-components from the semiconductor industry (CMOS image sensors and packaging elements), the optical industry (optical lens sets), and more recently the micro-motor industry (voice coil motors for AF & OIS).
There is a different market trajectory for the lens and sensor markets, which are now maturing at ~14% CAGR with the emergence of giant billion-dollar companies. The CCM and auto-focus manufacturing markets, which are still very fragmented and growing at ~20% CAGR, should experience consolidation over the next five years.
The stakes are high, since the mobile market is maturing and micro-cameras are key differentiators. The consumer appetite for slimmer mobile devices is forcing CCM players into a major technological race while at the same time demanding massive investment to keep up with volume. The CCM industry greatly benefited from the adoption of high-resolution cameras in mobile, since doubled by the adoption of front-facing ones. Current revenues are mainly driven by the increasing resolution of both rear and front-facing mobile cameras, but new applications, i.e. in automotive, are starting to play an important role.
Thanks to explosive growth, automotive will soon be the second-largest application
Automotive has had a significant impact on the CCM ecosystem. Automotive cameras have shifted from an add-on feature to must-have standard equipment, and regulations in the European Union and the United States are encouraging this transition. Automotive module revenue reached $1.2B in 2014, and growing at a CAGR of 36% should reach $7.9B by 2020. This exceptional growth has mainly benefited the CCM industry’s second-tier players, but the response of market leaders will be worth watching. As the camera module application moves from imaging to sensing, the automotive ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) application is the perfect barometer of what’s to come for the entire camera module industry. Our report looks systematically at the automotive camera module market and its technology issues.
The CCM industry is quickly adapting to changing market needs
The current CCM industry is controlled by Asian firms, mainly Korean and Japanese, but we’re also witnessing the rise of Chinese firms and the restructure of Taiwanese firms. An ongoing price war has leveled the market, and most players have operations in China or Vietnam. There is a clear market split between players mainly delivering sub-5Mp resolution cameras for the computing and low-end mobile fronts, and players producing above-5Mp for high-end rear mobile cameras. Successful strategies exist at both ends of the market, even though the rise in resolution makes the low-resolution option more challenging.
Today, being a part of the main mobile handset makers’ supply chain is a key success factor. While the rich Korean ecosystem has been able to develop itself thanks to Samsung and LG, a threat is growing due to over-dependency on a few main mobile players. Japanese CCM players have well-negotiated the demise of their own domestic mobile manufacturers, first by serving Apple and then by moving into China and serving the rising stars there. Taiwanese players’ fortunes range widely; Largan, which serves all market players, is Taiwan’s greatest success. However, other Taiwanese players have had limited market access since only a few significant mobile handset manufacturers still use a 100% Taiwanese supply chain.
Yole’s report covers the entire supply chain and provides a complete player ranking analysis in respect to the CCM industry’s different activities.
Critical technology shifts (3D, computational, Motion, IR) are ahead of us, with the camera module ultimately becoming the hub for multi-sensing
Access to technology is key in the CCM industry. At the image sensor level, access to Sony’s state-of-the-art 3D stacked sensors is a prerequisite for high-end, high-resolution modules. The integration of PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus) is another key technology feature. Most CIS vendors are quickly closing the technology gap with Sony, but as the investments get larger and larger only the biggest companies will be able to compete.
One key on-going technology shift for high-end CCM is the integration of OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). This critical feature is mainly provided by Korean and Japanese voice coil motors (VCM) manufacturers. The high demand for VCM technology means stronger negotiating power for players with access to it. Other propositions using wafer-level techniques are being scrutinized. Our report discusses the pros and cons of alternative AF & OIS technologies.
CCM’s future will also include new sensor types that serve not only sensing but also video and photography. Many developments are currently underway, especially for 3D. The smartphone revolution is not yet 10 years old and the action sports camera revolution is not even three years old. The imaging industry is digesting waves of innovation at a pace unseen anywhere else. The sensing revolution, including computational imaging techniques, will probably be next to occur. This report covers market and technology insights for successfully navigating this changing landscape.