Semiconductor revenues worldwide will grow 4.6% in 2012 to $315 billion according to the mid-year 2012 update of the Semiconductor Applications Forecast (SAF) from International Data Corporation (IDC). The SAF also forecasts that semiconductor revenues will grow 6.2% to $335 billion in 2013 and grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% from 2011-2016, reaching $380 billion in 2016.
Despite the ongoing global macroeconomic uncertainties, such as the Eurozone crisis, lower global GDP growth, and economic slowing in the BRIC countries, current demand remains strong for semiconductors in applications such as smartphones, media tablets, and automotive electronics. Further, there are high expectations for the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system and next-generation smartphones later this year, which will accelerate semiconductor revenue growth in 2013 and beyond.
“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,” says 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.”
While all these point to strong semiconductor growth, Venkatesan notes that near-term growth will be slower than that of past semiconductor cycles due to macroeconomic weakness.
Regionally, Europe continues to be weak across the board. In the U.S., consumer and automotive markets are showing strong semiconductor demand. Although GDP growth has slowed in China, India, and Brazil, demand for smartphones, tablets, and notebooks remains strong.
IDC expects that semiconductor market growth will resume in the fourth quarter of 2012 and extend into the first quarter of 2013. This next wave of semiconductor demand will be spurred by the launch of Windows 8 for tablets, increased enterprise IT spending, and next-generation smartphones, tablets, and gaming platforms, as well as the anticipation of improved global macroeconomic conditions. The recovery will accelerate into the second half of 2013 and beyond.
Other key findings from IDC’s Semiconductor Application Forecaster include:
* 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%.