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Demand for sensors in the US will rise 6.1 percent per year to $13.1 billion in 2014, a strong recovery from low 2009 levels. A rebound in motor vehicle production will boost demand for automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sensors, while the high penetration levels achieved for products like tire pressure monitoring and occupant positioning sensors will provide some aftermarket opportunities. Sensor demand will further benefit from the improved outlook for both process manufacturing and industrial machinery shipments. Beyond these macroeconomic factors, improvements in sensor technology, especially in areas such as micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), photoelectronics and optoelectronics, will support gains. These and other trends are presented in Sensors, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
Motor vehicles are generally the largest end use for sensors in the US; however, with the sharp downturn in vehicle production, this market fell behind industrial applications in 2009. Through 2014, demand for motor vehicle sensors in the US will advance 14 percent annually to $3.9 billion in 2014, supported by a rebound in motor vehicle production, coupled with the rising use of newer sensor-laden systems. As a result, motor vehicles will once again become the leading market for sensors well before 2014 and will account for more than half of the overall increase in sensor demand between 2009 and 2014. Because of the sheer size of the recovery in the large motor vehicle market, the other leading markets will all perform at a below average pace. Still several of these markets will post solid gains, including industrial machinery and medical applications, which will both rise more than four percent per year through 2014.
Among the various sensor types, proximity and positioning and chemical property sensors will see the most rapid increases. Proximity and positioning sensors will benefit from the rebound in motor vehicle production and industrial machinery shipments. In addition, these products are used in newer automotive applications such as electronic stability control systems and advanced airbags. Demand for chemical property sensors will be supported by technological advances that allow for price reduction, sensor miniaturization and greater precision. Process variable sensors (e.g., pressure, temperature, flow and level) will continue to be the largest product type, although these sensors are expected to grow at below-average rates since they represent some of the more mature products in the sensor industry.
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