Automotive magnetic sensor market will slow down, market researcher says

October 22, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Playing a key role in government-mandated automotive safety systems including stability control and tire-pressure monitoring, magnetic sensors are in high demand in the car business in the current year. Thus, the market grows for the straight year in the double-digit percentage range. But this high-speed growth will soon hit the limits. predicts market research company IHS.

Revenue in 2012 for semiconductor magnetic sensors in the automotive space is forecast to reach $812.2 million, up 11 percent from $731.3 million last year, according to an IHS iSuppli Magnetic Sensor Report from IHS. This year's expansion will be the third consecutive annual increase in the double digits, and next year’s revenues are projected to grow an estimated 9.5 percent.

Growth after 2013 will then moderate to the single digits in the 6 and 7 percent range, with revenue to hit $1.1 billion by 2016. “Magnetic sensors’ remarkable three-year run of double-digit growth in automotive is being helped considerably by the key role these devices play in vehicle safety systems required by mandates,” said Richard Dixon, Ph.D., principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. “The mandates helped propel the sensors to rapid growth during the past several years, especially because they were being enforced in the highly developed automotive markets of North America, the European Union, Australia, South Korea and Japan. However, use of the sensors will reach their saturation point by the 2014-2015 time frame—which explains the slowing revenue growth for the years ahead.”

Fig: Market growth is set to continue albeit at lower space

The magnetic sensor market consists of Hall-effect and magnetoresistive semiconductor integrated circuits (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. Aside from the automotive space where their use is most prominent, the sensors are utilized to a smaller extent in the industrial/military/energy/medical sector, as well as in the data processing industry.

In the automotive arena, the sensors are used in electronic stability control (ESC) systems engineered to help prevent vehicle skidding, and are a potent driving force in consumption given the use of relatively expensive steering-wheel-angle sensors and at least four wheel-speed sensors. The sensors are also employed in tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), where magnetic