"Conservatively optimistic" is the best way to describe the market forecasts for MEMS devices. Some forecasts see greater growth in specific areas like RF MEMS and automotive electronics than other areas.
The influential European organization NEXUS (Network of Excellence in Multifunctional Microsystems) sees a total worldwide market for MST (Microsystem Technology) devices, which includes MEMS devices, $68 billion by 2005, up from $30 billion in 2000. According to NEXUS' definition, MSTs are "microstructure products that have structures in the micron range and have their technical function provided by the shape of the microstructure. They combine several micro-components, optimized as an entire system, to provide one or several specific functions, in many cases including microelectronics." The term MEMS, which originated in Silicon Valley in the U.S., does not always include things like bio-MEMS devices, microstructures made of glass or plastic, and micro-nozzles.
Roger Grace of Roger Grace Associates foresees a steady worldwide automotive electronics market for MEMS devices, with 2004 production projected to top 55 million units, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 1.6% through 2007. He predicts that the $24.1 billion automotive electronics MEMS market will grow to $34.2 billion by 2007, with the largest jumps seen in speed, pressure, temperature, and other types of sensors for automotive use.
RF MEMS represents one of the largest markets being forecast. Wicht Technologie Consulting sees a worldwide market of over $1 billion for RF MEMS devices by 2007, up from about $150,000 this year.
According to Yole Développement, the worldwide market for MEMS devices (not including bio chips and magnetic heads) will be $5.7 billion next year, up from $3.6 billion in 2002. The forecast cites information technology and telecommunications as the largest markets. It also forecasts a $400 million capital equipment market for MEMS by next year, up from $240 million in 2002.