WSJ report shows Sony rules 40% of the image sensor market share thanks to Apple/Samsung partnerships

by Gannon Burgett

posted Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 5:20 PM EDT


The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled ‘How Sony Makes Money Off Apple’s iPhone’ (paywalled). In it, authors Takashi Mochizuki and Eric Pfanner break down the image sensor market, showing how Sony is well above the rest in every regard.

Sourcing information from Techno Systems Research, WSJ shares Sony’s impressive numbers. The numbers show the Japanese electronics company reeled in a whopping 40% of image sensor production in 2014, 5% more than the previous year. Behind Sony was OmniVision at 16%, Samsung at 15% and ‘Others’ which total in at roughly 29%.

Much of Sony’s massive market share is due to their partnership in the world of smartphone makers, most notably Apple, who’s consistently used Sony cameras in their iPhone and iPad lineups.

The report focuses specifically on smartphone cameras, but hidden in the numbers is the truth behind Sony’s entire image sensor market, including mirrorless and DSLR sensors, which are used by a number of other manufacturers.

As promising as Sony’s market share currently is, WSJ notes it might not always be that way. Specifically, the article notes:

Some analysts say keeping up with demand might be Sony’s biggest immediate challenge. In the long run, Sony could be vulnerable because of its dependence on Apple, which sometimes has shifted suppliers with little warning.

Sony isn’t just looking to tread water though. Earlier this year, Sony announced it was looking to invest almost $1 billion into image sensor research and development to stay on top of the game.

As a whole, WSJ reports the image sensor market has grown into a massive $8.65 billion industry last year, an 80% increase since 2009.

(via Image Sensors World)