CMOS IMAGE SENSOR PRICE WAR: COMPETITION BETWEEN SAMSUNG AND SONY INTENSIFIED


According to recent reports, the majority transaction price of CMOS image sensors dropped by 3% in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020. Recently, the two giants in the field of CMOS image sensors, Samsung and Sony, became more fierce in their pricing. In fact, there's presently a salient but active price-cutting war between these companies. For the past three consecutive quarters, there has been a drop in the price of CMOS image sensors.

At present, among the various products of CMOS image sensor, the representative is the 13MP image sensor (sensor size 1/3"), and it's a low-priced product for the bulk demand side is about $1.55. A bit like other products, the price also represents a 3% drop.



MORE DEVICES NOW use CMOS SENSORS

Thanks to the expansion of the 5G smartphone, self-driving car, and robot markets, the demand for CMOS image sensors for related products has risen. Samsung Electronics will convert a DRAM plant into a CMOS production plant in early 2021. this will make sure that the output is going to be about 20% higher than before. The semiconductor industry analysts believe that Samsung’s move is to chase after the world’s top CMOS manufacturer Sony. Of course, it's intention will be to compete against Sony using a vigorous pricing strategy. In Q3 2020, Samsung’s global market share of CMOS hit 21.4%, lagging behind Sony’s 44.2%.

The price war is merely a part of the explanation for the price reduction of CMOS. Another possible reason is that the change in demand in related industries. in the past, because of the “multi-camera” smartphones, the demand for CMOS image sensors was strong. This badly hit the supply stability & also the price. 

However, the utilization of multiple sensors in a smartphone may hamper in the coming years. This can be because manufacturers want to reduce the price of 5G smartphones. the utilization of multiple sensors will only increase the costs. this is often also causing a reduction in the price of CMOS sensors.

Sony’s CFO Yushu Yuki said at a meeting held on 3rd February this year, “The production of CMOS in the previous quarter (Q4 2020) was 117,000 units, which was more than the original estimate of 110,000 units. We estimate that the output of this quarter (Q1 2021) will increase to 127,000 units. at present, all Sony factories are fully open, and orders from mobile devices and cameras are increasing. The new plant in the Nagasaki factory will start production according to schedule (April 2021)”.

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