Graph: Yole Développement

Market research & strategy consulting company Yole Développement has just released its "Camera Module Industry Market and Technology Trends 2017" report, and the document includes a number of interesting findings and forecasts that photographers, specially those interested in smartphone photography, should pay attention to.

According to the report, the market for cameras in mobile devices is still the main driver of the camera module industry that reached $23.4 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $46.8 Billion by 2022.

The researchers at Yole Développement also found the manufacturers of autofocus and optical image stabilization systems had to adapt to the large production volumes and low cost requirements of the smartphone makers. This has resulted in a restructuring effort and a move of production capacity from Japan and Korea to China and Vietnam. Companies like New Shiko and TDK have been able to benefit the most from these developments.

In the sub-markets for image sensors and lens sets, the quasi-monopolies of Sony and Largan are about to end as the competition is quickly catching up in terms of technology. Module makers, like market leaders LG Innotek, are hugely dependent on customer loyalty as the loss of a large customer could potentially result in a collapse of the company.

The report also finds that the average cost for mobile camera modules has remained relatively constant. However, with high-end AF- and stabilization systems and and active alignment now being much more commonplace, complexity has increased disproportionally. The current total cost of camera module per phone is pretty much proportional to the number of cameras installed—two cameras cost the manufacturers $16, three cameras around $24, and those implementing four cameras in their devices have to calculate with a cost of more than $30 per handset.