Counterpoint: Sony’s smartphone camera sensor business is on the rise thanks to iPhone upgrades

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The smartphone market shrank in 2022, affecting image sensor suppliers. However, some fared better than others – Sony was the only supplier to see its revenue grow year-on-year.

And that was mostly thanks to Apple’s upgrade of the cameras on the iPhone 14 series. The two Pro models brought new 48MP sensors in the main cameras and larger 12MP sensors in the ultra-wide cameras. The selfie camera on all four models was also upgraded with autofocus. Apple uses exclusively Sony sensors, you can see the breakdown by camera type below:.

The Sony sensors inside the last two generations of iPhones (source: Counterpoint BoM analysis service)

All told, Sony made an extra $6 per device for a total of about $300 million in the second half of 2022. The bottom line is that Sony took 54% of the year’s total revenue, up 5 percentage points from 2021.

Samsung LSI did well for itself, although its revenue share fell 1 percentage point to 29%. The company took advantage of high-resolution sensors with small pixel size (below 0.7 µm pixels).

The affordable 50MP sensors proved quite popular, with Samsung shipping an estimated 200 million of them by 2022. These are used in the main cameras on lower-end phones and in the selfie cameras on more premium devices. The company still dominates the 100+ megapixel sensor market and has shipped an estimated 150 million units since it launched the first one.

Counterpoint: Sony's smartphone camera sensor business is booming thanks to iPhone upgrades

Last year, the smartphone image sensor market fell 6% compared to 2021, but total revenue remained above $13 billion. Sony and Samsung took the lion’s share of it, 83% in total.


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