Consumer/mobile MEMS sensor firms racing against time, slow growth!

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IHS Markit Research recently released the ‘Top Consumer and Mobile MEMS Sensor Suppliers for 2015.’

According to IHS, the consumer and mobile micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) sensor revenue declined by 3.4 percent in 2015 with slow growth expected to start from 2017. While microphones and other MEMS categories grew, other categories declined — most notably, motion sensors.

The three leading consumer and mobile MEMS sensor suppliers globally, based on 2015 revenue, were STMicroelectronics at 17.85 percent, Knowles at 17.32 percent, and InvenSense at 17.26 percent.

Sensor companies have seen the reality of a slowing MEMS market and have been working to expand their offerings and business models

What are the reasons for the decline — most notably, motion sensors? As per IHS Markit analyst, Marwan Boustany: “Simply, it is the fact that the ASP decline is greater in magnitude than unit growth. Unit growth is linked directly with slowing end product growth rates (smartphones and tablets specifically) and sensor penetration trends.”

How are sensor companies working to expand their offerings and business models in a slowing MEMS market?

He added: “InvenSense is a good example here. It is entering the ultrasonic fingerprint segment in 2017. It also acquired the ADI MEMS microphone business at end of 2013. InvenSense started selling software/processing as a service with its Coursa range of products (retail and sport) in 2015. It is also giving SensorStudio for free to customers to enable easier sensor based product design in the fragmented and growing IOT space.”

Industry status
The top three folks share 52+ percent. Who are the other key players and what is their status?

Two other sensor suppliers after the top three are Bosch Sensortec and Goertek.

Bosch Sensortec is a successful sensor supplier with high volumes in inertial sensors (accelerometers, 6-axis IMU, pressure sensor) and growing volume in MEMS microphones through its Akustica business. It has a wide range of customers for its motion sensors from Apple and Samsung to Huawei, and faces stiff competition from InvenSense and STMicroelectronics.

Goertek Inc. is a MEMS microphone supplier with very healthy unit and revenue growth, thanks in large part to its Apple design wins. As of 2015, Goertek still needs to find other large design wins to reduce over reliance on Apple.

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