Monday, May 10, 2021
Worldwide semiconductor revenues are forecast to surge 12.5% to US$522 billion in 2021, driven by continued-robust growth in consumer, computing, 5G and automotive semiconductors, according to IDC.
Supply constraints will continue through 2021, nevertheless, IDC indicated. While shortages initially occurred in automotive semiconductors, the impact is being felt across the board in semiconductors manufactured at older technology nodes. Much like a traffic jam and the ripple effect, a disruption on the semiconductor supply chain operating close to capacity will impact across the supply chain.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the global economy, the semiconductor market performed strongly in 2020 when revenues climbed 10.8% to US$464 billion, IDC said. Demand by industry was uneven throughout the year due to global lockdowns, remote work and education, and shifts in consumer buying behavior.
The market for semiconductors in computing systems, such as PCs and servers, surged 17.3% on year to US$160 billion in 2020. Revenues are forecast to grow another 7.7% on year to US$173 billion in 2021. "Demand for PC processors remains strong, especially in value-oriented segments," said Shane Rau, IDC research VP. "The PC processors market looks strong through the first half and likely the whole year."
Growth in mobile phone semiconductors was resilient in 2020. "Mobile phone shipments fell by more than 10% in 2020, but mobile phone semiconductor revenues grew by 9.1% due to a shift to higher priced 5G semiconductors, more memory per phone, sensors, and RF support for more spectrum bands," said research director Phil Solis. "2021 will be an especially important year for semiconductor vendors as 5G phones capture 34% of all mobile phone shipments while semiconductors for 5G phones will capture nearly two thirds of the revenue in the segment." IDC forecasts mobile phone semiconductor revenues will grow by 23.3% in 2021 to US$147 billion.
The consumer semiconductor market segment rebounded in 2020. Robust sales of game consoles, tablets, wireless headphones and earbuds, smart watches, and OTT streaming media devices fueled segment growth by 7.7% year over year to US$60 billion. "Apple, AMD, and Intel showed exceptional growth as consumers upgraded their digital spaces at home," said research manager Rudy Torrijos. "New gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony, continued strong sales of wearables from Apple, and the rise in smart home networks managed by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant will accelerate growth in 2021 to 8.9% year over year."
"Automotive sales recovered in the second half of 2020, but the supply constraints for the automotive semiconductor market for some products will last through 2021 as fires and fab shutdowns further impacted the automotive semiconductor market and it takes time for chips to move through the automotive ecosystem, specifically in the US and Europe," said research manager Nina Turner. For 2021, IDC forecasts that automotive semiconductor revenues will grow 13.6%.
"Overall, the semiconductor industry remains on track to deliver another strong year of growth as the super cycle that began at the end of 2019 strengthens this year," said Mario Morales, program VP of semiconductors at IDC. "The markets remain narrowly focused on shortages across specific sectors of the supply chain, but what is more important to emphasize is how critical semiconductors are to every major system category and content growth that remains unabated."
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