Samsung, Apple and Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will drive the light sensor market to grow 16% between 2013 and 2016, according to a new report from IHS.

The latest MEMS & Sensors report, Shining a Light on a Colorful Market, finds that revenues will reach $767 million in 2016, a 16% percent rise in three years.

“Between 2013 and 2015, there has been a rapid adoption of light sensor units, mostly thanks to Samsung," says Marwan Boustany, senior analyst for MEMS and Sensors at IHS Technology.

In 2014, Samsung accounted for 43% of light-sensor spending in handsets. Apple is the second largest buyer of light sensors after Samsung and spent $129.5 million in 2014. Apple accounted for 19% of light- sensor spending in handsets in 2014 because the company uses custom and high performance parts. IHS expects that by 2017 Apple will adopt a “3-in-1 package” because solutions that offer both the size and performance it seeks should be available by this time.

Chinese OEMs represented 23% of light sensor spending in 2014, mostly on standard low-cost components and a small percentage of high-cost, high-performance parts.

“The Chinese market remains a place where anything and everything can be tried as companies try to find any and every means to differentiate or at least match flagships from Samsung and Apple," says Boustany. “Chinese OEMs are also characterized by preferring to have several suppliers for their sensors, ranging from three to six or more suppliers. The Chinese market is very competitive with price being the key element for most OEMs."

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