Sony’s image sensor supremacy ‘shaken’

Samsung increased its market share last year
The price reduction effect of 50 million pixels is significant
Flexible Operation of Image Sensor Production Line
Solid-state system key weapon for the blueprint

Photographic images

Samsung Electronics’ image sensor sales increased. Sony seeks to become the market leader, diversifying its products and applying new technologies. According to market research firm TSR, the market share of Sony, which ranks first in global image sensor sales, has declined slightly. In contrast, laggards such as Samsung Electronics and OmniVision have managed to increase their market share. In 2021, Sony’s image sensors were estimated to have a 43% market share with sales of $8.7987 billion. Down 1.3% from the previous year.

Samsung Electronics took second place with 19.7% and OmniVision took third place with 14.1%. They achieved a slight increase of 0.8% and 2%, respectively, over the previous year. Close the gap with the front row.

Samsung Electronics’ market share expansion is due to increased price competitiveness and increased sales centered on mid- to low-end smartphones. The analysis suggests that Samsung Electronics cut costs by upgrading its image sensor packaging technology. Counterpoint said the price reduction of the 50-megapixel image sensor launched by Samsung Electronics last year was the driver of growth. Analysts say it has opened up a market for high pixel image sensors for less than $5. Thanks to this, not only mid to low-end smartphones from Samsung Electronics, but also smartphones such as Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi are equipped with the aforementioned image sensor.

The industry expects that apart from 50 million pixels, ultra-high pixel products with more than 100 million pixels will be applied to various mid- to low-end smartphones. “High-definition pixel image sensors in South Korea and China are expected to continue,” Samsung Electronics said on a first-quarter earnings conference call. “We plan to deliver 100 to 200 million state-of-the-art pixel sensors without any major disruption to customer demands.”
Samsung Electronics also operates its image sensor production line flexibly. Samsung Electronics plans to meet market demand by converting their Hwaseong Line 11 from DRAM to image sensor. With this, Samsung Electronics plans to use the image sensor as a key weapon for system semiconductors. Since the number of smartphones with high-end application processor (AP) has not met market expectations, it is expected to compensate its revenue by expanding the image sensor business.

“Samsung Electronics is trying to increase its share of the image sensor business this year by diversifying its system semiconductor product portfolio,” a semiconductor industry source said. “Investment in facilities to produce image sensors will also increase,” he added.

By Reporter Dong-jun Kwon

Michael C. Garrison