« Back To Vision & Imaging News
AIA Logo

Member Since 1984


AIA - Advancing Vision + Imaging has transformed into the Association for Advancing Automation, the leading global automation trade association of the vision + imaging, robotics, motion control, and industrial AI industries.

Content Filed Under:



Overview of the 2010 AIA Machine Vision Market Study

POSTED 05/05/2009

By Paul Kellett, AIA Director – Market Analysis

2010 AIA MV Market Study AIA’s new 2010 annual market study, Machine Vision Markets – 2009 Results and Forecasts to 2014, is designed to help machine vision companies realize sales in the aftermath of the “Great Recession”.   As machine vision companies know all too well, 2009 was a brutal year in North America and elsewhere.  MV companies were hit by the worst recession in the entire history of machine vision.  Recessions had depressed industry sales before, most recently in 2002 in the US, but never with the force of the so-called, “Great Recession”, the most severe recession since World War II.   Going forward, the question is “how strongly will MV sales recover in 2010 and beyond?”   In early 2010, many MV companies are seeing an improvement in sales, but will that increase continue?  

Given the strong impact of the economy on MV sales, AIA’s new 2010 study focuses heavily on the economy, including causes of the Great Recession, economic forecasts, forecasts of industrial production and forecasts of the key industry segments into which MV companies sell. 

As past AIA MV market studies, the new AIA study also breaks down and tracks over time product sales by major product feature.  This reveals major sales trends and identifies “winners and losers”, the product features that have enjoyed the greatest and also weakest sales.

Combining product feature analyses with product market forecasts, the new AIA study provides machine vision companies with the market intelligence they need to maximize sales in 2010 and beyond. 

What’s new?
AIA’s new 2010 study reflects a fundamental change in AIA’s preparation of market analysis deliverables that aims at providing the highest return on each market research dollar spent by MV companies.   AIA achieves this objective by offering AIA members studies market opportunity studies at no charge; previously, these studies were included in the annual study.  At the same time, AIA has reduced the price of the annual study for AIA members and non-members alike (with the greatest price reductions enjoyed by members).   AIA has been willing to lower its price without diminishing the quality of its studies, because –unlike commercial market research firms- our objective is not to make a profit but instead to serve the machine vision industry.

Changes from the previous AIA study include the following:

  • Latest, actual sales data and analysis for 2009
  • New sales forecasts for 2010 – 2014
  • Five-year area charts in Chapters 7 through 13 to detect trends on the product feature level
  • New estimates of regional and world MV product markets 
  • A new Executive Summary and Conclusions
  • A new Economics chapter that analyzes the Great Recession and provides forecasts for the economy, industrial production and individual industry segments

Study Organization
The 2010 study is based on 2009 actual results but also contains historical sales data to show buying trends and makes sales forecasts based on historical and economic data.  The study is organized primarily around the major machine vision (MV) product markets in North America and the world: optics, lighting, cameras, imaging boards, smart cameras and application-specific machine vision (ASMV) systems.  The study begins with an overview of the report and ends with a set of major conclusions and a glossary of key words.

Study Purpose
The purpose of the new market study is to help MV companies maximize sales with actionable market intelligence.  To succeed in the marketplace, MV companies need carefully formulated market plans.  AIA wishes to encourage MV companies to thoroughly utilize the data and analysis of this study as major inputs into their market plans.  Important information that AIA has included in this study for this purpose are enumerated below.

Recommended Market Plan Inputs

  • Estimation of actual and forecast MV product market size
  • Estimation of actual and forecast MV market growth
  • Analysis of changes in MV growth patterns
  • Determination of MV market trends and major characteristics
  • Analysis of MV sales by product feature
Type of Machine Vision Study
The AIA study is a true “market” study - in contrast to an “industry” study, an altogether different type of study of machine vision sales activity. As a market study, this AIA study focuses on sales that occur within geographic markets. As such, it cannot be compared to industry studies. Both types of studies represent equally valid but completely dissimilar (and thus incomparable) perspectives. The following table shows the difference between market and industry sales and why the different types of studies cannot be compared.



Market All the companies that sell into the same geographic market
  • Total Market Sales = In-region sales + Imports
  • Total Market Sales = Domestic Sales + Imports
Industry All the companies with HQs located in the same geographic area
  • Total Industry Sales = Total global sales of companies with in-region HQs
  • Total Industry Sales = In-region sales + Out-of-region sales of companies with in-region HQs
  • Total Industry Sales = Domestic sales + Out-of-region sales where “domestic” refers to the same geographic area

Scope of this Study
The boundaries of the study have been set as follows:

  • Geography:  The study focuses primarily on North America.  In Chapter 3, however, we present regional and worldwide estimates of product market sizes, as previously noted.  In Chapters 17, 18 and 19, we also examine the Argentine, Brazilian and Mexican MV markets to estimate their respective opportunities.

  • Time Period: The major focus is 2008, with historical data included, where possible, for the 2001 to 2007 period.  The forecast period of the study is 2009 through 2013.

Machine Vision Definition

By “machine vision” we mean all industrial and non-industrial applications where a combination of hardware and software provide operational guidance to devices in the execution of their functions based on the capture and processing of images.

  • Definition of Machine Vision: By “machine vision” we mean all industrial and non-industrial applications where a combination of hardware and software provide operational guidance to devices in the execution of their functions based on the capture and processing of images.  Typically, this involves lighting to render visible the object to be imaged; optics to focus the image of the object; a camera to “see” the image; an imaging board to capture the image from the camera and convert it into data; and lastly, software that is used to manipulate the digitized image to optimize operational decision-making.  It is important to note that, according to our definition, machine vision is not limited to the factory floor but instead extends to new, innovative applications, which broadens the scope of what has been traditionally referred to as machine vision.  Despite this, it must nevertheless be noted that most data collected for the study still represent a traditional, factory-oriented definition.  It is expected that - as the machine vision industry increasingly broadens the scope of its activities - the operational definition of machine vision will correspondingly evolve with members of AIA and the MV industry at large arriving at a consensus.

  • Level of Analysis: This study focuses on MV sales activity on the component and system level.  Sub-component sales are thus beyond the scope of this study.

  • Market Players:  The scope of this study can be further defined in terms of the type of market players from which data are collected, as shown below.

Types of Market Players Included: Types of Market Players Excluded:
  • Component Suppliers
  • Smart Camera Suppliers
  • ASMV System Suppliers
  • Subcomponent Suppliers
  • OEMs
  • Integrators
  • Distributors/Resellers/VARs


  • Product Markets and Types of Units Sold:  This study examines product markets in terms of their corresponding types of units sold.

Product Markets Types of Units Sold
  • Optics
  • Lighting (or Illumination)
  • Cameras 
  • Imaging Boards
  • Software


Integrated MV Equipment
  • Smart Cameras
  • Application-Specific MV Systems
  • Lenses (multi-element optical devices)
  • Single lighting configurations
  • Cameras including board-level cameras
  • Frame grabbers and vision processors
  • Software packages

  • Smart cameras, embedded vision processors and vision sensors
  • Individual ASMV systems

It should be noted that there is not a single machine vision market per se but rather multiple markets that correspond to major product categories, each of which represents a major machine vision function or an integration of multiple functions.

For more information on AIA’s 2010 Market Study, Machine Vision Markets – 2009 Results and Forecasts to 2014, please contact Paul Kellett.  To order, click here.