2011 IC sales 2%: Who’s overachieving, who’s tanking

November 4, 2011 – While everyone’s now expecting 2011 to skid into low-single-digit growth, that overall metric hides some impressive individual results for a number of companies and a variety of reasons, notes IC Insights. The firm, one of the last optimistic holdouts, now officially shows ~2% IC growth in 2011, down from a projected ~4% as recently as mid-September.

The total top-20 semiconductor suppliers are expected to beat the industry as a whole, registering a 6% increase in sales. But six companies will actually enjoy double-digit growth, and three will actually surpass =25% growth. The winners in 2011 IC sales: Qualcomm +33%, Infineon +30%, Intel +26%, Sony +16%, Fujitsu +11%, TSMC +10%. The losers: Elpida -39%, Hynix -10%, NXP -7%, STMicro -6%, Micron -5%, UMC -5%, Renesas -3%, TI -2%.

Some observations on the list:

It’s good to be the king. Intel should extend its No.1 position thanks in part to its acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business. Intel also nearly doubles its sales level vs. Samsung: 47% in 2011, 24% in 2010. (Note to Samsung: that’s still better than the 52% gap in 2009.)

Cash is king. One big factor in 2011 IC sales is currency exchange rates, including a weak US dollar and a very strong Japanese yen. Rewinding to 2010 exchange rates, some growth would look a lot different: Infineon’s 30% (continuing operations) would be 24%, Sony’s 15% becomes 6%, Fujitsu’s 11% goes to 1%, and TSMC’s 10% sinks to 2%.

Fabless strengthens its foothold. Qualcomm is riding a 73% jump in the smartphone IC sector. Meanwhile, Nvidia jumped five spots to 18th place, thanks to healthy growth in its graphics and communications processor businesses.

Memory giveth and taketh away. A year ago memory firms were climbing up the annual IC sales lists; what a difference a punishing year makes. Samsung (6%) and Toshiba (3%) will eke by this year, but it’s been rough for everyone else: Hynix -10%, Micron -5%, and Elpida -39% (and a six-slot slide to 19th place).

2011 (forecasted) top 20 semiconductor sales leaders, in US $M. (Source: IC Insights, company reports)

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