Chip Forecast Positive Despite Weak Economy

The global economic weakness will put a dent in semiconductor sales this year but not enough to drive the industry into negative growth, according to the latest numbers from IDC. The research firm projects the market will expand at a moderate 4.6 percent in 2012 followed by another single-digit jump in 2013 when it will reach $335 billion.

IDC said it sees global IC sales in 2012 rising to $315 billion with the market continuing to grow through 2016 at a 4.8 percent compound annual growth rate between 2011 and 2016. End-markets driving the steady growth include the automotive sector as well as smartphones and media tablets. The researcher also expects a boost from the pending launch of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 operating system.

From the IDC press release:

    “As we forecasted earlier this year, the cyclical semiconductor downturn that started in the middle of last year reached bottom in the second quarter of 2012,” said Mali Venkatesan, research manager for Semiconductors at IDC. “Supply constraints on semiconductor products, such as smartphone applications processors and PC discrete graphics processors based on the most advanced process technologies, are easing as foundries are bringing more capacity online. Also, the semiconductor industry has recovered from the flooding in Thailand that held back the supply of hard drives and PCs. Leading-edge 22nm at Intel is ramping fast now, while foundries and memory companies are getting ready to move to 20nm technology node.”

The regional markets aren't all growing at the same pace, however. Europe remains in an economic funk, and IDC says, “GDP growth has slowed in China, India, and Brazil.” Several end-markets in the United States remain resilient, including the consumer and automotive sectors. IDC expects worldwide demand for semiconductors to pick up in the last quarter of this year and accelerate through 2013 due to “increased enterprise IT spending, and next-generation smartphones, tablets, and gaming platforms, as well as the anticipation of improved global macroeconomic conditions.”

Other key findings from the IDC report:

  • Semiconductor revenues for the Computing industry segment will log year-over-year growth of 1.5% for 2012 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% for the 2011-2016 forecast period. Within that, semiconductor revenues for mobile PCs will register 5.9% year-over-year growth and a 2011-2016 CAGR of 9.6%.
  • Semiconductor revenues for the Communications industry segment will grow 7.2% year over year in 2012 with a five-year CAGR of 4.7%. Semiconductor revenues for 4G phones will experience year-over-year growth of 579% in 2012 and a CAGR of 97% for 2011-2016.
  • Media tablets, e-Readers, HD receivers, and LED/LCD TV sets, will continue to see above average growth, like 2011. Sales of traditional devices such as DVD players, DVD recorders, portable media players, and game consoles will continue to erode. Overall, semiconductor revenues for the Consumer industry segment will record year-over-year growth of 4.4% in 2012 and a 2011-2016 CAGR of 5%.
  • Driven by strong global demand for automobiles and increased semi/electronics content in autos (for applications such as in-vehicle infotainment, automobile body electronics, and driver safety systems), semiconductor revenues for the Automotive industry segment are expected to grow 9.7% year over year in 2012 and 7.2% (CAGR) for the five-year forecast period.
  • Among semiconductor devices, microprocessors, ASSPs, and microcontrollers will register higher revenue growth than overall semiconductor revenues, but memory (especially DRAM) will continue to show negative growth as the memory industry recovers from the DRAM slump of last year.
  • Regionally, Asia/Pacific will continue to grow its share of semiconductor revenues, with year-over-year growth of 7% in 2012 and a five-year CAGR of 6.4%.

8 comments on “Chip Forecast Positive Despite Weak Economy

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    July 19, 2012

    I was surprised as I scrolled through headlines today that Intel's results were being interpreted as portending doom for the second half of the year. Here's one:

    Intel's Earnings Warning is an Ominous Sign for the Tech Sector

    Yes, Intel's a bellwether and yes they are huge. But I think it's a bit early to write the chip industry off, and hopefully IDC's report will balance industry perception.

  2. _hm
    July 19, 2012

    It may be for next decade, chip forecast will be positive. There may be new player, but overall, it will be positive.


  3. t.alex
    July 21, 2012

    Yes as we have seen for many quarters the analysts' predictions are always positive:)

  4. Mr. Roques
    July 23, 2012

    I'm surprised that the Y2Y of the consumer electronics segment is “only” growing 4.4%, with all the hype over the tablets. And that the automotive segment is outgrowing everyone.

  5. SunitaT
    July 23, 2012

    I'm surprised that the Y2Y of the consumer electronics segment is “only” growing 4.4%, with all the hype over the tablets.

    @Roques, although 4.4% growth is very small but its way better than negative growth or no-growth. If we look at the GDP contraction of china and India,it clearly shows spending has reduced drastically. Moreover Europe is unable to comeout of its crisis. Despite this semiconductor industry is showing positive growth means, things looks promising for this industry in coming days.

  6. SunitaT
    July 23, 2012

    There may be new player, but overall, it will be positive.

    @_hm, according to you which new player will play role in setting the semiconductor trends in coming years? And which companies do you think will loose out to the compeition ?

  7. _hm
    July 23, 2012

    @tirlapur: It depends what management and engineers do in this period of time. I am not soothsayer for many organization has vision and determination. 

  8. Mr. Roques
    August 28, 2012

    What is a “normal” expected growth during normal times in the tech industry? 7-10%?

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