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September 13, 2011

Silicon magnetic sensors market to reach $1.46bn in 2011: IHS

Driven by automotive industry and the fast uptake of compasses in handsets and tablets

By CBR Staff Writer

The silicon magnetic sensors market revenue in 2011 is set to rise 23.7%, according to a new IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors Special Report from information and analysis provider IHS.

IHS microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and sensors senior analyst Richard Dixon said given the spectacular recovery of the automotive passenger-vehicle industry and the fast uptake of compasses to aid navigation-related functions in handsets and tablets, the magnetic sensor market can look likewise to healthy times in the years ahead.

Revenue of silicon magnetic sensors is projected to reach $1.46bn, up from $1.18bn in 2010, following a blockbuster year in 2010 where revenues rebounded 48.6%.

Also providing a boost to magnetic sensors is the digital compass sector, responsible for 20% of magnetic revenues in 2010.

Not only is the digital compass becoming a standard feature in the global positioning systems (GPS) of tablets and mobile phones, the device also is starting to find its way into gaming applications, cameras and other devices.

Other important applications for magnetic sensors include consumer electronics, PC applications and other miscellaneous uses ranging from pacemakers to switches in fax machines and copiers.

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Growth in the magnetic sensor space will cool slightly after 2015, due to the rapid erosion in price of electronic compasses, as well as to an eventual slowdown in automotive applications after fitment rates are achieved for safety mandates in electronic stability control systems and tire-pressure monitors.

"Magnetic sensors are enjoying big growth again this year, with the market simply flooded with higher-cost parts such as compasses as well as mission-critical automotive sensors," Dixon said.

"Unlike low-cost switches widely used in white goods such as microwave ovens, or in information technology gear like PCs, fax machines and copiers, automotive and handset compasses contain relatively high-priced sensors, which should serve to buoy the market for at least the next four years."

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