Due to military market drop, shift toward commercial businesses is faster than expected and will continue thanks to established & new consumer applications like personal vision or smartphones
Faster shift toward commercial applications thanks to military budget cuts and growing commercial markets
Uncooled infrared camera market experienced a strong downturn in 2012: though total shipments slightly increased by + 1%, overall revenue fell by 12% down to $1,824M. That strong fall was mainly due to the weakness of the military market that has been historically the main revenue generator.
Global military market was massively impacted by heavy cuts in the US military budget resulting from federal budget sequestration and reduced military operations. US Department of Defense program delays consequences were notable because US market represented more than 80% of global military market in 2011. That strong decrease was partly compensated by the commercial markets, that grew by +11% in units thanks to the surveillance and thermography markets.
This shift toward commercial and higher volumes markets will be confirmed in the 2013-2018 period, and Yole Développement expects +23% growth in shipments fueled by four commercial markets showing a CAGR above 20%: automotive and surveillance, the young ultra-low-end thermography market, and finally by the rise of infrared imaging in smartphones.
Though 2012 sales were disappointing, Yole Développement predicts that the automotive market will be the number 1 growth driver even if sales will strictly remain limited to premium cars at least until 2017. Similarly to automotive, surveillance sales growth was under expectations in 2012 due to longer time to develop this market, but the sensational introduction of affordable sub-$2,000 cameras initiated by DRS and followed by FLIR in 2012 will boost sales.
Thermography market growth is driven by the ultralow-end market which consists of low-resolution cameras for basic radiometric purposes, reaching a price point low enough to be adopted by technicians or DIY consumers. It is expected that ultra-low-end will generate nearly half of total thermography market in 2018 while it emerged only in the end of last decade.
Finally Yole Développement expects that the ultimate high-volume application will be infrared imaging for smartphones benefiting from their large display to control a plug & play IR camera. An additional scenario plans a rapid ramp up of this application based on huge price erosion. In that report you will find in-depth analysis of both established and emerging markets.
Growing volumes and price erosion increase cost pressure on sensors and cameras manuf acturers: what is the best strategy to reduce cost ?
More information on the report at http://www.i-micronews.com/reports/Uncooled-infrared-imaging-market-trends/19/391/