In 2012 ST tied with Bosch for first place but, while Bosch’s MEMS sales soared 26% in 2013, ST’s slumped by 2%.
While Bosch’s MEMS sales topped $1 billion last year, ST’s fell to $777 million from 2012’s $794 million.
However, if manufacturing output is the measure, ST took the top slot because it had $220 million of MEMS foundry revenues which took it’s annual MEMS revenues to $1,097 billion. That was up on the total $1,014 MEMS revenue, including MEMS foundry, which ST had in 2012.
Although 74% of Bosch’s MEMS sales came from auto, most of Bosch’s growth came from Bosch Sensortec, which focuses on consumer and mobile applications.
Bosch Sensortec not only dominated the accelerometer market for smartphones among Chinese handset makers, it was also supplying accelerometers into the Apple iPhone 5s and 5c, and the Apple iPad air.
Bosch Sensortec was likewise the top supplier of pressure sensors for Samsung handsets and tablets, and it has started shipping in volume 6-axis inertial measurement units (IMU) for accelerometers and gyroscopes in a combo package to Sony, Samsung and HTC.
“Bosch cemented its position at the top in 2013, thanks to being the No. 1 supplier in automotive MEMS with a full portfolio of products, extending from pressure to flow sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes,” said iHS’ Jeremie Bouchaud, “Bosch is also well-positioned in combo sensors that integrate accelerometers and gyroscopes for electronic stability control systems in cars, along with a growing presence in China.”
ST’s 6-axis IMU revenue more than doubled because the manufacturer was the top supplier to Samsung and sole supplier for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Also, its MEMS microphone business rose 56 percent as STM expanded its customer base in handsets and tablets—from just Nokia in 2012, to the Apple iPad air and HTC One in 2013.
STM started to ship accelerometers into automotive safety applications as well in 2013, and remains the dominant presence in the overall consumer and mobile MEMS market with 22 percent revenue share in that sector.
After Bosch, a few other MEMS players also notched up wins in 2013. These included Knowles Electronics from Illinois, Freescale Semiconductor from Texas, TriQuint from Oregon, InvenSense from California, Murata from Japan, and FormFactor also from California.
For Knowles, at No. 5 in 2013, the company enjoyed the highest growth in revenue within the top 20, up a remarkable 48 percent. Knowles is the industry’s top microphone supplier, and its impressive growth comes from three factors: increased presence in the iPhone 5s and 5c after supplying two of the phone’s three microphones; a solid position in the booming Chinese smartphone market; and shipments of a new generation of higher-performance microphones at loftier prices to titans Apple and Samsung.
Freescale, the No. 8 player, has now recovered fully from the earthquake that struck its Sendai, Japan, fab in 2011. Freescale successfully completed the transfer of its MEMS production to the company’s Oak Ill fab in Texas, and it has been able to maintain strong partnerships with customers after the disaster, especially in airbags. Freescale is also growing its tire-pressure monitoring systems and accelerometer business for both the industrial sector and tablets in Asia.
TriQuint, at No. 9, was second only to Knowles in revenue growth for 2013, up a massive 46 percent. While it is only the runner-up in the market for bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, TriQuint grew its share of the space against main rival Avago Technologies in California’s Silicon Valley, the No. 6 MEMS maker overall last year. TriQuint supplies into the iPhone, but it is also expanding its presence with other original equipment manufacturers. The company is benefiting as a whole from the fast-growing market for 4G LTE handsets, which command BAW filters for high-frequency bands.
InvenSense, Murata and FormFactor all saw revenue grow in the double digits, ranging from 14% for Murata, to 29% for FormFactor, to 34% for InvenSense.
InvenSense increased its share of the market with Samsung while also tripling its business with Chinese smartphone and tablet makers. Murata grew largely because of its revenue from the former VTI Technology, which it acquired in 2012.
FormFactor made its presence felt through MEMS-based probe cards for testing semiconductor wafers.
Besides ST, decliners last year were: Texas Instruments at No.3, fourth-placed Hewlett-Packard, No. 6 Canon of Japan, tenth-ranked Analog Devices; and Panasonic and Epson, both of Japan, further down the list.
The top 20 MEMS producers accounted for combined revenue in 2013 of $6.99 billion, or 78% t of the industry total of $8.96 billion. The percentage of the top 20 a year earlier in 2012 was the same at 78% when the group’s sales were $6.6 billion, measured against the industry total of $8.47 billion.