Global MEMS microphone shipments will increase to 4.8 billion units in 2017 from 4.4 billion units in 2016, and the volume will reach over 5.0 billion units in 2018, according to Digitimes Research.
Global MEMS microphone shipments surpassed for the first time those of ECMs (electret condenser microphones) in 2015, reaching 3.8 billion units.
MEMS microphone shipments have been mainly driven by growing demand for voice-control smart speakers, for which MEMS microphones are a key voice-command component, Digitimes Research indicated.
Among various MEMS microphone applications, smartphones account for the largest portion, followed by notebooks and tablets. MEMS microphones are also used in headphones, digital video recorders, automotive electronic, medical care and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.
MEMS microphones, audio ICs and micro-speakers are main audio components used in smartphones, notebooks and tablets.
US-based Knowles Electronics and China-based GoerTek and AAC Technologies Holdings were the global top-3 MEMS microphone vendors in 2016, with Sony and Infineon Technologies mainly undertaking outsourced production. IDMs including STMicroelectronics, Bosch, TDK and Omron, are also MEMS microphone suppliers.
Amazon, Google, Apple, Sony, Bose and Harman International Industries have launched smart speakers and/or devices with voice assistance functions.
To enhance smart speakers' sound reception, it is necessary to not only improve performance of MEMS microphones but also match MEMS microphones with sound source positioning, noise- and echo-cancelling hardware/software systems.