A mixed bag within optoelectronics in 2005.

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Worldwide revenues of the total optoelectronics IC segment grew 10% in 2005 over 2004, and unit sales grew 16% (see Figure), according to data from World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS). Optoelectronic ICs exhibited higher growth than the overall IC industry (8% for both revenues and units). However, that positive 10% is a result of combining heterogeneous product lines whose performances ranged from a decline of 24% to growth of 70%.Th 202217

According to WSTS, optoelectronics IC revenues grew 10% last year and units grew 16% over 2004.

WSTS is a nonprofit trade organization. The definitions of the segments and respective subcategories reported in this article are established by that organization. The optoelectronic segment as defined by WSTS includes displays, lamps, couplers, and other opto-sensing and emitting semiconductor devices, but does not include liquid-crystal devices and displays or incandescent lamps and displays. The annual growth analyses in this article are based on the 12 months of industry data ending in November 2005 compared to the previous 12 months.

Optoelectronics/displays gained 70% in revenues and 61% in units, reaching annual levels of $800 million and more than 400 million units, indicating improvements in the average selling price (ASP), which has been hovering above $2 since June 2005. Consumption value in Japan grew 96%; Europe gained 15%, while the Americas and Asia-Pacific lost 8% and 11%, respectively. Products that compose the display segment include single- and multiple-digit character displays reported as complete assemblies. This segment represents 5.5% of revenues within the total optoelectronics segment for the first 11 months of 2005.

Meanwhile, the laser pickup product line-devices generating coherent radiation whose wavelength is generally greater than 0.8 µm and used mainly for optical disk drives-has declined 24% in both units and revenues. The ASP of these devices has been eroding continuously since April 2005, from $1.40 to $1.11. Both displays and laser pickups retain similar market share within the optoelectronics segment (annual revenues of $0.8 billion and $1 billion, respectively, out of a total of $15 billion). Laser pickups compose 6.9% of the optoelectronics segment.

Looking further into the WSTS data and definitions, the “lamps” subcategory (16.6% market share) includes discrete solid-state light sources that operate only in the visible spectrum. The “couplers” subcategory (6.7% market share), which includes interrupters, comprises devices consisting of an emitter and sensor integrated into a single package. The “laser transmitter” subcategory (0.8% market share) includes devices generating coherent radiation whose wavelength is generally greater than 0.8 µm, mainly used for optical communications. The “CCD and other image sensors” subcategory (42.2% market share) includes monolithic ICs capable of translating light into electrical voltages or currents for generating an image. The “infrared“ subsegment (5.9% market share) includes infrared emitters and all detectors. “Other optoelectronics” (15.3% market share) includes fiber-optic components and solar cells as well as all other optoelectronic devices that are not included in the other subsegments.

Optoelectronics products took prominent places in the top growth as well as the top declining IC segments in 2005. For example, the top growth IC segments in units for 2005 included:

• Displays, +61% (revenues +70%)
• Application-specific analog-Computer and peripherals, +45% (revenues +24%)
• Special-purpose logic-Computer and peripherals, +44% (revenues +28%)
• Laser transmitters, +43% (revenues -13%)
• CCD and other image sensors, +42% (revenues +13%)

The top IC growth segments in terms of revenues for 2005 were:

• Display, +70% (units +61%)
• Special-purpose logic-Consumer, +31% (units +8%)
• Total application-specific ICs, +29% (units +18%)
• Special-purpose logic-Communication, +27% (units +21%)

As noted, not every category enjoyed a banner year; laser pickups represented the top declining IC segments in units in 2005, down 24%. The category also headed the list of top declining IC segments in revenues at -24%. Other revenue decliners include:

• Application-specific analog-Consumer, -14% (units +9%)
• Laser transmitters, -13% (units +43%)
• Couplers, -8% (units +1%)

The accompanying chart depicts historical patterns, including 2005, for worldwide optoelectronics shipments.

Rosa Luis is the director of marketing and sales for Advanced Forecasting (Saratoga, CA; www.adv-forecast.com). She conducts analyses of clients’ data, co-writes the monthly industry analysis, co-instructs forecasting workshops, and presents at conferences such as NEDA, ESCA, and AVEM. Founded in 1987, Advanced Forecasting forecasts demand for semiconductors, semiconductor equipment, and materials industries.

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