Sony still the top dog in smartphone camera sensor market, Samsung trails in second place
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Camera performance has increasingly become a differentiator in the smartphone market over the past two or three years. Not only that, but the number of cameras on high-end and mid-range smartphones has also increased with the addition, variously, of telephoto, periscope, macro and ultra-wide cameras by OEMs. This helps to explain the smartphone camera sensor market reaching a record $15 billion in 2020 (up 13 percent year-over-year), despite a decline in overall smartphone sales of 8.8 percent.
Retaining its number one position is Sony, which achieved a 46 percent share. Its customers include Apple, Samsung (even though Samsung also makes camera sensors and holds down the number two slot with a 29 percent share) and Huawei. Samsung and other vendors actually managed to gain some ground on Sony due to Huawei’s US government-inflicted woes badly affecting its sales. Strategy Analytics expects that Sony’s dominance will continue to be challenged by Samsung and Omnivision, which holds down third place with a 10 percent share.
“The pandemic did little to dent the image sensor market growth as CIS vendors observed strong demand from smartphone OEMs who aggressively adopted high-resolution sensors and higher sensor count across smartphone tiers in 2020,” said Jeffrey Mathews, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. However, Strategy Analytics holds the view that the pandemic-induced semiconductor shortage could create difficulties for Sony, Samsung and others to meet the necessary demand for their camera sensors.