Increased MEMS-Based Applications in the Automotive and Consumer Markets Drives Demand for MEMS Sensors

Demand from end-user markets such as automotive, medical and consumer electronics spurs growth in the world microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors markets.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, World MEMS Sensors Markets, reveals that the market earned revenues of $1.6 billion in 2005 and estimates this to reach $4.2 billion in 2012.

"Demand from key applications such as electronic stability control (ESC) and tire pressure sensors in the automotive market will likely drive the MEMS sensors market," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Prashanth Venkatesh. "Regulations passed by the U.S. highway and safety authority that mandate the installation of tire pressure sensors, also fuels demand. Moreover, environmental and legislative mandates increase the need for fuel-efficient cars, thereby supplementing demand for sensors in the automotive market."

Simultaneously, the adoption of inertial sensors for the purpose of adding functionality and safety in devices such as mobile phones, gaming devices and e-notebooks, drives growth in the consumer markets. Currently, mobile phones represent the biggest opportunity within the consumer segment. Increasingly, mobile phones have adopted inertial sensors to improve the customer experience. This includes both accelerometers and gyroscopes for applications such as scrolling, character recognition, gaming and image stabilization.

The need for enhanced performance in the automotive as well as medical segments and robust products in the consumer market, results in the miniaturization of technology that fosters improved performance, higher sensitivity, and less power consumption. This need will likely sustain growth in the MEMS sensors markets.

Since MEMS-based devices have significant potential in areas such as lifesciences and environmental protection, government agencies have a strong commitment to this technology. In fact, funding for this technology continues to increase in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, while the European Union continues to search for new MEMS applications. Additionally, funding from venture capitalists (VCs) can also play a significant role in the development of the world MEMS sensors market.

"Despite the moderate pace of technological development, manufacturers have to contend with serious pricing issues, as a result of competition and pressure from customers," observes Venkatesh. "Manufacturers can benefit by offering a complete product solution and successful product differentiation."

Manufacturers continuously try to refine production methods to deliver highly reliable products, while meeting these pricing pressures. They have adopted a variety of strategies to expand their market share and to support progression in the total world MEMS sensors market.

Several strategic partnerships and acquisitions have taken place to achieve market dominance and minimize weaknesses in product offerings. As the growth of competing technologies has forced a number of technological developments, manufacturers can ensure success by building significant expertise in the target application markets and customer service.

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