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Sony leads in smartphone sensors

The electronics giant may be an also-ran in branded smartphones, but it has taken almost half the market in image sensors for handsets

While Sony still makes cutting-edge smartphones, it has become an also-ran in market share, and its handsets are hard to find across the African continent. However, it dominates in a key category of smartphone components: the image sensors that make possible huge advances in camera technology.

According to a Strategy Analytics report, “Smartphone Image Sensor Market Share Q4 2021: Sony Leads and Gains Share”, Sony Semiconductor Solutions topped the market with 45% revenue share in 2021, followed by Samsung System LSI and Omnivision. The top three vendors captured nearly 83% revenue share in the global smartphone image sensor market in 2021. In terms of smartphone multi-camera application, Image sensors for Depth and Macro application reached 30% share, while those for Ultrawide application exceeded 15% share.

The global smartphone Image sensor market in 2021 reached total revenue of $15.1-billion, with revenue growth of more than 3 percent year-over-year. 

“Smartphone OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) continued to embrace the multicamera applications as well as the adoption of high-resolution CIS (image sensors) across device tiers,” says Jeffrey Mathews, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Sony expanded the supply of custom CIS products across leading premium smartphones while Samsung and Omnivision saw demand for high-resolution CIS products.”

Stephen Entwistle, vice president of the strategic technologies practice at Strategy Analytics, says: “Large format and high-resolution image sensors will be a key area of growth as OEMs aim to apply superior camera capabilities within smartphones. However, demand continues to be influenced by the CIS inventory as well as the supply shortages for smartphone components.”

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