Total stand-alone camera shipments peaked in 2011 at 143 million units.
Worldwide stand-alone camera shipments are expected to fall by a CAGR of -10% between 2012 and 2017 compared to an annual average growth rate of just 1% in the 2007-2012 period and nearly 31% per year in the 2002-2007 timeframe.
The semiconductor market for all digital camera systems (both cameras embedded in phones and stand-alone systems) is expected to reach $29.2 billion in 2017 compared to $23.0 billion in 2012, which represents a CAGR of 4.9%.
However, when stand-alone cameras are excluded, IC sales for embedded cameras and imaging systems are forecast to grow by a CAGR of 11.9%, reaching $23.9 billion in 2017 compared to $13.6 billion in 2012.
IC sales for stand-alone digital cameras are projected to decline at an annual average rate of -10.5% in the forecast period, while revenues for integrated circuits used in automotive camera systems are expected to surge by a CAGR of 113.3% between 2012 and 2017. Sales of ICs for tablet and PC cameras are forecast to rise by a CAGR of 20.2% while cellphone camera integrated circuits are expected to rise by an annual rate of 9.0% in the 2012 2017 period.
The decline in stand-alone camera shipments accelerated in 2013, causing most suppliers to reduce the number of models being sold to consumers and to focus more efforts on higher-priced digital single-lens reflex (D-SLR) cameras.
Sales of D-SLR models are still growing but not by enough to keep the camera business from shrinking.
For many years, stand-alone cameras drove advancements in digital imaging systems—including greater picture resolution in image sensors, more powerful camera processors, and higher density nonvolatile NAND flash memory.
But the decline in stand-alone camera shipments has caused a number of IC suppliers to shift strategies and seek out other expanding markets. Cellular phones continue to be a major growth application for digital cameras and imaging, but IC Insights predicts high growth rates for several other embedded applications this decade including automotive, tablets & PCs, security & surveillance, and medical/scientific/industrial, which will open high-volume market opportunities for image sensor suppliers and IC makers in the near future.