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9 June 2015

Infrared component market to grow from $1.3bn in 2014 to $1.5bn in 2020

Over the past 10 years, visible light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been adopted widely in many different applications, as prices have fallen and new technologies have been developed to make full use of them. The infrared LED market is now also experiencing a similar increase, states a research note by Mike Hornung of the technology team at market research firm IHS Inc.

The market for infrared ambient light and proximity sensors was expected to continue growing very quickly in the near future. However, it is now expected to slow down significantly, as the market for sensors in tablets and smartphones begins to saturate. Nevertheless, the market for infrared components is still expected to grow from $1.3bn in 2014 to $1.5bn in 2020. 

So where is this growth coming from? The answer lies in the market for infrared LEDs, photodiodes, and phototransistors, notes IHS.

Infrared LEDs have in the past been used in a variety of applications, mostly in remote controls for consumer goods. But over the past few years there has been a huge increase in the popularity of consumer do-it-yourself (DIY) security cameras. Each of these has a number of rings of IR LEDs to provide night-vision capabilities so that, in each camera sold, there could be anywhere from 10 to 50 IR LEDs. Their gain in popularity has had a major impact on the market in China, where most of these cameras are manufactured, says IHS.

Despite gains in security cameras, the real growth potential lies in the automotive market, reckons the firm. Over the past 10 years, many leading automotive manufacturers have increased the number of sensors and 'smart' capabilities into their vehicles. Many newer technologies - such as rain, light and tunnel sensors - now come standard on many vehicles. Other applications of IR devices in cars include proximity, parking, lane detection and driver drowsiness sensors. The IR LED market is therefore growing strongly in the automotive sector, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11% forecast from 2014 to 2020. 

Also, in automotive applications, each IR LED might be paired with a number of photodiodes or phototransistors to act as sensors. The success of the IR LED market is hence inherently linked to the success of the photodiodes and phototransistor market. 

Over the next six years, with the emergence of more smart technologies and the focus of many consumers on safety and security, the market for IR LEDs, photodiodes and phototransistors can only increase, reckons IHS. However, the market for visible LEDs is more than 10 times the size of the market for IR LEDs. So, whatever happens to the IR LED market, the effects on the wider optoelectronics industry will still be dictated by the behavior of the visible LED market, concludes the market research firm.

Tags: IR LED

Visit: www.ihs.com

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