ST MEMS revenues nearly double with Apple in customer roster

April 5, 2012 — STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM, ST) expanded its consumer and mobile micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) lead in 2011, thanks in part to significant sales to Apple Inc. ST enjoys exclusive design wins in the iPhone, iPad and iPod lines. Apple alone accounted for half of STMicroelectronics’ MEMS revenue in 2011.

STMicroelectronics’s consumer and mobile MEMS chips brought in $638.7 million in 2011, an 81% increase in revenue over 2010’s $353.3 million, according to the IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors Service. ST saw the most growth among the top 10 suppliers of consumer and mobile MEMS, increasing its market share and leadership margin over #2 Knowles Electronics (see the table).

Table. Top 10 consumer and mobile MEMS suppliers by revenue for 2011 ($M). Source: IHS iSuppli Research, April 2012.

Rank Company   2011 Revenue ($) 2010 Revenue ($) Y/Y Growth/Decline (%)
1 STMicroelectronics  638.7 353.3 80.8%
2 Knowles 270.9 191.5 41.5%
3 Texas Instruments 204.6 161.4 26.8%
4 Avago 190.6 207.3 -8.1%
5 InvenSense 142.8 92.9 53.7%
6 Bosch 127.2 118.5 7.3%
7 TriQuint 85.2 74.7 14.1%
8 Panasonic 85 86.5 -1.7%
9 Kionix 74.6 63.8 16.9%
10 Analog Devices 59 50.4 17.1%
Revenue Total from Top 10 1878.6 1,400.3 34.2%
Revenue Total from Overall Market 2,159.9 1,642.5 31.5%

The Top 10 suppliers of consumer/mobile MEMS devices accounted for 86% of the market’s overall revenue in 2011, making about $1.9 billion of the $2.2 billion total revenue for the sector. Combined revenue from the Top 10 this year was up 34%. Consumer and mobile — smartphones, media tablets, etc — are the most dynamic and largest MEMS applications.

In 2011, STM held 30% market share of the overall consumer and mobile MEMS market, up 8 percentage points year-over-year. STMicroelectronics has held the #1 spot since 2009. ST was “the first company to fully believe in the consumer MEMS business,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. STMicroelectronics had no difficulties ramping up and producing MEMS in mass volume when the market exploded starting in 2007.

STMicroelectronics is the top supplier of motion-sensing accelerometers to cellphones, tablets, laptops and video game consoles. ST “invested heavily” in 3-axis gyroscopes, enabling wins in the iPhone 4 and the Sony PlayStation Move controller. STMicroelectronics is the only provider of accelerometers and gyroscopes — which improve the motion-based interface — for Apple’s iPhones, iPads and iPods. Also read: Gyroscope MEMS depose accelerometers in 2011 revenues

STMicroelectronics also cooperates with other MEMS companies to shorten time to market, working with Honeywell in the electronic compass business, and Omron on MEMS microphones.

STMicroelectronics last year shipped an estimated 15 million digital MEMS microphones into handsets made by Nokia Corp., as well as into laptops from Hewlett-Packard and Taiwanese computer maker Asustek Computer Inc. In the process, STMicroelectronics became the top MEMS microphone supplier to Nokia ahead of former front-runner Knowles, achieving the feat in less than one year.

Knowles rose one spot from #3 in 2010, with a 42% jump in MEMS revenue to a record $270.9 million. Despite erosion in its market share last year, Knowles still largely dominates the MEMS microphone business with 73% share of revenue, remaining highly competitive with a roster of top customers such as Samsung Electronics, Apple and LG Electronics. Knowles also introduced a fourth-generation MEMS microphone last year into the iPhone 4S featuring a 35% reduction in silicon area compared to its previous-generation product.

Texas Instruments jumped one spot as well, with a 27% increase in consumer and mobile MEMS revenue. Pico projectors are its principal revenue growth driver, as the company’s digital light processing (DLP) technology currently dominates the projector space.

Avago slipped from #2 in 2010 to #4. Avago remains the top manufacturer of bulk acoustic wave filters, but price erosion was stronger than unit growth in 2011, causing Avago’s revenue to drop to $190.6 million, down 8% from $207.3 million in 2010.

InvenSense saw 54% revenue growth last year, to $142.8 million. While STMicroelectronics was the sole supplier of 3-axis gyroscopes for Apple, InvenSense dominates the 3-axis gyroscope market for other original equipment manufacturers. InvenSense also ships dual-axis gyroscopes into sectors like gaming, and has achieved some success with single-axis gyroscopes for toy helicopters and other consumer goods. The company has managed to reverse its heavy dependence on gaming, diversifying into mobile handsets and tablets last year.

IHS (NYSE: IHS) is a leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical areas that shape today’s business landscape. Learn more at

The overall market for MEMS grew 17% to $10.2 billion in 2011, according to Yole Développement. The top 2 suppliers — Texas Instruments (TXN, TI) and STMicroelectronics (STM, ST) — neared $1 billion in sales each.

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