Wednesday, 03 February 2021 09:03

Global semiconductor revenue grew in 2020 despite the pandemic

Global semiconductor revenue grew in 2020 despite the pandemic Pixabay

The global semiconductor market grew by 5.4% in 2020 the pandemic notwithstanding, pulling in US$442 billion (A$581 billion), a better than expected showing, the technology research firm IDC says.

The company said the DRAM and NAND markets also recovered after a poor 2019, growing 4% and 32.9% respectively.

Semiconductor revenue is forecast to reach US$476 billion in the current year, a growth rate of 7.7% year-on-year as vaccination campaigns begin around the globe and economies recover.

"The nature of the recovery will depend upon how quickly government stimulus plans stabilise the global macroeconomy and consumer confidence improves as vaccinations roll out around the world," said Mario Morales, program vice-president, Enabling Technologies and Semiconductors at IDC.

"There are specific markets that remain on an upward trajectory and are essential to the recovery this year, including 5G, cloud, intelligent edge, and the dedicated foundry industry.

"The first half will also see some inventory digestion in the enterprise, cloud, and telco equipment market, but we do not expect it to derail the growth for the year. Semiconductor technology remains critical across every industry on our journey to a sustainable recovery."

IDC said the market for semiconductors in PCs and servers in 2020 fared better that the overall market, growing 10.9% year-on-year to US$152 billion.

"Measures to control the COVID-19 infection forced workers and students to stay at home, which forced corporations and consumers alike to acquire PCs," said Shane Rau, research vice-president, Computing Semiconductors.

"Further, the dispersal of workers and students away from centralised locations forced cloud service providers, telecommunications providers, and corporate IT departments to invest in their computing infrastructure."

The second demand driver for semiconductors was the smartphone market, especially the growth in 5G phones; IDC forecast that this segment of the semiconductor market would grow to US$128 billion this year, a rise of 11.4% year-on-year.

"Mobile phone shipments fell by more than 5% in 2020, but mobile phone semiconductor revenues would have grown by about 3% due to a shift to higher ASP 5G semiconductors, more memory, sensors, and RF support for more spectrum bands," said Phil Solis, research director for Connectivity and Smartphone Semiconductors.

"[The year] 2021 will be an especially important year for semiconductor vendors as 5G phones capture 30% of all mobile phone shipments while semiconductors for 5G phones will capture nearly 54% of the revenue in the segment.”

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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