Total worldwide semiconductor revenue reached $299,4-billion in 2010, up $70,7-billion, or 30,9% from 2009, the largest dollar increase for the semiconductor industry in any one year, according to Gartner. However, the industry just fell short of the milestone $300-billion revenue threshold.
Gartner says that the top 25 semiconductor suppliers accounted for 69,1% of semiconductor industry revenue in 2010 and, as a group, memory vendors showed the strongest growth.
"The industry-wide upturn was due to the combination of pent-up demand that had built in the wake of the worldwide economic recession, and rebuilding of semiconductor inventories that were significantly depleted during the recession and early recovery," says Peter Middleton, principal analyst at Gartner.
"The market began to surge in the second half of 2009, as demand recovery in a variety of market sectors resulted in strong order rates. This continued, almost frantically, during the first half of 2010 as demand soared, prices rose, and we saw lead times expanding significantly."
Intel held the number one position for the 19th consecutive year, with a 14% share, down from 14,6% in 2009. Intel gained market share in some markets, but it lost ground in the total market, mainly at the hands of commodity memory vendors.
Second-placed Samsung Electronics enjoyed a strong growth year due to its exposure to the booming DRAM and NAND flash markets. Memory accounted for about 80% of the company's sales in 2010. In the DRAM sector, the South Korean vendor was able to strengthen its number one position, pushing its market share to record highs due to bit growth significantly above the rest of the market.
At number three, Toshiba's semiconductor revenue grew 28,7% in 2010. The company grew its NAND flash memory business for mobile devices, as well as its discrete and optical electronics device businesses. Revenue for application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) declined in consumer electronics due to the decrease of video game business as market share shifted between component suppliers and the overall game console market started to slow. But ASIC revenue for the communications and automotive area grew with economic recovery in 2010.
Meanwhile 10th-placed Broadcom outperformed the overall industry by a considerable margin, with growth of 53% over 2009. This allowed it to climb two ranks and enter the top 10 for the first time. All three of Broadcom's business units – broadband, mobile & wireless, and infrastructure & networking – performed well.
Several of the top 25 vendors performed significantly better than expected according to Gartner's relative industry performance (RIP) index. The four vendors that grew better than 10% beyond expectations on the RIP index were Broadcom, Marvell, Samsung Electronics and NXP. In contrast, four vendors missed expectations by more than 1%: Rohm, Renesas Electronics, Nvidia and MediaTek.