According to Yole Développement SA (Lyon, France) the mainstream MEMS microphones are and will remain one of the fastest growing MEMS markets, growing from $785 million in 2013 to $1.65 billion by 2019, according to Wenbin Ding, technology & market analyst at Yole. In Yole's recent report "MEMS Microphone Market, Applications and Business Trends 2014" Ding and Yole's business unit manager, MEMS & sensors, Frederic Breussin, predict that shipments of MEMS microphones will grow from 2.4 billion in 2013 to 6.6 billion units in 2019.
Since 2001 when MEMS microphones first appeared, their driving force in the market has been smartphones, tablets, cameras, laptop computers and hearing aids, all of which today are using multiple MEMS microphones, usually for noise cancellation, voice recognition improvement and even beam forming.
"Like most devices dedicated to the consumer applications, MEMS microphones see increasing competition and strong pressure to decrease average selling price. Despite such competitive pressure, Knowles has been able to retain market shares in 2013 compared to 2012. Knowles‚Äô competitors including AAC Technologies, Goertek formed an expansion and increased their market shares in 2013. But today, they are still very small compared to Knowles, the leader, ‚Äú Breussin told EETimes. ‚ÄúFor example, ¬†iPhone 5S and 5C are using two microphones from Knowles and one from AAC Technologies. Existing players still have a long way to go if they want to take market shares from Knowles."
In addition to its market forecasts and strategic analysis, Yole, in collaboration with its sister company, System Plus Consulting specializes in reverse engineering manufacturing technologies and doing production cost comparisons. These analyses recently compared, for instance, Knowles and the AAC Microacoustics models currently in the iPhone5s with Akustica's AKU346 and Invensense's ICS-40161.
The future looks even brighter for MEMS microphones, according to Yole's analysts because of their dove-tail fit to the exploding market for MEMS microphones in Internet of Things (IoT) devices and wearable electronics--from smart-watches and -glasses, to smart-homes and -buildings, to smart-medical devices and -automotive voice control. All of these markets are expected to grow at break-neck rates, according to Yole, a rising tide that will float the MEMS microphone boat upward as well.