The opto-sensor-discrete (OSD) marketplace may have slowed its expansion in 2016, but analysts at IC Insights are expecting the sector to reach $92 billion in sales by 2021, thanks to new, fast-growing apps such as solid-state lighting, machine vision, image recognition, smart-grid energy, IoT and multi-sensor "fusion" in intelligent portable systems.

OSD sales rose just 2% last year, which is half of the sector's annual average growth rate since the mid-1990s, according to IC Insight's 2017 OSD Report. For 2017, combined revenues from the three OSD market segments are forecast to strengthen slightly and grow 7% to $72.4 billion, which will be the eighth consecutive year for annual sales to set record-high levels since the 2009 downturn.

High-brightness LED sales fell for the first time ever in 2016 because of an oversupply of devices in a number of solid-state lighting applications. Inventory corrections in about a half-dozen other product categories and a slowdown in CMOS image sensor growth also contributed to a 4% drop in total optoelectronics sales in 2016—the first decline in seven years.

The slump is expected to be short-lived with optoelectronics climbing 8% in 2017 to a new record-high of $36.5 billion, according to IC Insights.

Meanwhile, the sensors/actuators market finally returned to double-digit growth in 2016—rising 16% to a record-high $11.9 billion—after being held in check by steep price erosion during the four previous years. Strong unit shipments for automated controls and new IoT applications are expected to drives sales of sensors and actuators over $17 billion in 2021.

Discrete semiconductor sales also grew 4% in 2016. Among semiconductor markets, the commodity-filled discretes segment has suffered the most from weak economic growth in recent years. Stable growth in power transistors and other discretes is forecast to lift discrete sales by 5% in 2017 to set an all-time high of $23.1 billion. Total discretes sales are expected to reach nearly $27 billion in 2021.

ICInsights_OSD (cr) Figure 1: Product category sales in 2016 (Source: IC Insights)