According to a report put out Thursday (March 28, 2013) by market research firm IHS iSuppli, the largest buyers of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) motion sensors for handsets and tablets (a category that includes components such as MEMS accelerometers, MEMS gyroscopes and electronic compasses) in 2012 were Apple and Samsung Electronics. The IHS iSuppli MEMS Topical Report says that the two companies made up 56 percent of the US$1.34 billion market in 2012.
Apple spent US$422.4 million (which represents 31 percent of the total market), and Samsung US$340.8 million (25 percent). Analysts at IHS iSuppli said their combined expenditure of US$763.2 million "dwarfed the rest of the market" and that they were "expected to maintain their dominance until at least 2016, retaining approximately 55 percent of the market by then."
"The heft and influence of Apple and Samsung in the consumption of motion sensors give the two titans incredible purchasing power in this key area," said Jeremie Bouchaud, Director and Senior Principal Analyst for MEMS & Sensors at IHS. "Apple and Samsung were leagues ahead of other companies like Nokia, LG Electronics, HTC, Sony and Motorola in purchasing motion sensors. Both companies in 2012 paid 20 to 25 percent lower prices than other buyers for all motion sensors on average. For 3-axis gyroscopes, Apple and Samsung paid prices that were 10 to 15 percent less than for everyone else."
The third largest buyers (referred to as "Chinese makers" by IHS analysts)-by far with only a 15 percent combined share of the market-of motion sensors for cellphones and tablets in 2012 were "Chinese makers," said IHS analysts.
"[These] purchasers fell into two groups: the first typified by big companies such as ZTE, Huawei Technologies, Lenovo and Coolpad; and the second made up of a multitude of smaller players," Bouchaud said. "The two groups will evolve in different directions in the years ahead. The larger manufacturers will maintain their growth through 2016, but the boom that smallers players are enjoying at present-driven by the long-tail growth of smartphones-is a bubble that will not be sustainable. As top-tier suppliers start to optimise their lower-end platforms for this market, the window of growth for smaller players will shrink accordingly, expiring during the next few years."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.