SAN FRANCISCO—The market for magnetic sensors is projected to grow by 13 percent in 2012 after surging by more than 22 percent last year, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Thanks to use across a diverse number of applications—including cell phone navigation, automotive efficiency and solar energy generation, sensor revenue is projected to hit $1.7 billion this year, up from $1.5 billion in 2011 and $1.22 billion in 2010, according to a report by IHS (El Segundo, Calif.). The firm expects sensor revenue to grow at a compound annual grow rate of 9.3 percent through 2016.
“The magnetic sensor market consists of Hall-effect and magneto-resistive semiconductor ICs that are used to track rotational speed and linear angles in machines and devices, or to detect and process magnetic fields to establish positioning," said Richard Dixon, principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS, in a statement. "The sensors are utilized in a wide range of applications—from electronic systems and motors in cars, to compasses in cellphones and tablets, to the monitoring of current in solar inverters, to brushless direct-current motors in a range of medical systems such as ventilators, dialysis machines and centrifuges."
The automotive market accounted for the largest portion of the sensor market in 2011, IHS said. Sensor revenue from automotives grew 13 percent to reach $731.2 million last year, IHS said. Sales to the wireless and consumer space increased by a stunning 50 percent in 2011, reaching $549.9 million, the firm said.
Sensor sales in the industrial-military-energy-medical sector grew 6 percent to reach $153.3 million last year, while sales to the data processing segment increased 2.5 percent to $64.6 million, IHS said.
The top suppliers of magnetic sensors last year were Asahi Micro Devices from Japan; Allegro MicroSystems of Massachusetts, part of Sanken Electric; Infineon Technologies AG of Germany; Micronas of Switzerland; Melexis NV of Belgium; and NXP Semiconductors of the Netherlands, according to IHS. Together the six suppliers accounted in 2011 for 80 percent of the magnetic sensor IC market, IHS said.