Samsung Electronics has narrowed its market share in CMOS image sensors (CIS) with Sony by a few points last year, according to date from research firm Yole Development.
The Japanese tech giant held a 40% market share in the sector in 2020, which is 2 points lower than the previous year. During the same time period, Samsung saw its share increase to 22% from 21%.
Sony’s CIS sales remained flat over the time period while the South Korean tech giant’s increased by 13%, Yole Development noted. Last year, Omnivision held a 12% market share, placing third.
Samsung began the production of image sensors back in 2002. Up to 2014, it was the third largest image sensor maker after Omnivision and had below 20% market share up to 2018.
The company applied its memory chip expertise in designing and manufacture of CIS, which helped the business growth fast.
Samsung also focused on CIS for smartphones and supplied them for use in its own Galaxy brand of smartphones.
Last year, Sony’s I&SS business, its image sensor business unit, posted 1.01 trillion yen in sales, a 5% decline from 2019.
The drop was caused by Huawei’s halting of its smartphone production due to US sanctions.
Sony has said at its latest conference call that it is seeing sales increase in CIS for digital cameras from the pandemic but CIS for mobile dropping.
The Japanese giant is planning to expand its production volume however. In April, it begin operating its new Fab 5 at Nagasaki to manufacture smartphone CIS. It is planning to build an additional fab nearby. Sony had said it is aiming for 60% market share by 2025.
Meanwhile, Samsung is planning to expand its offerings for the automotive sector. In July, it launched Isocell Auto 4AC.
According to Yole Development, last year’s global CIS market was worth US$20.7 billion. Smartphone and consumer products accounted for 72% of the market.
By 2026, the global CIS market is expected to be worth US$31.5 billion, the research firm said in its forecast.