Tablets, smartphones driving turnaround in power management chips

September 11, 2012 - Demand for power management semiconductors recovered in 2Q12 after declining for half a year, thanks to strong demand from electronic products such as smartphones and media tablets, according to IHS iSuppli.

Global revenue for power management chips (preliminary estimates) reached $7.9B in 2Q12, up 9.7% from the first quarter, and a complete turnaround from sequential declines of -4.0% in 1Q12 and -10.7% in 4Q11. That will help reverse some of the inventory buildup that accumulated over the past three quarters as consumer spending slowed.

"The products responsible for fueling growth include mobile handsets, media tablets, personal computers and other consumer electronic items, such as digital still cameras. In these devices, efficient power management is becoming more important to consumers — a significant feature given that electronic devices are almost never shut off or powered down anymore," stated Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS.

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IHS iSuppli forecasts continued growth in demand for power semiconductors over the next two quarters as we enter the prime holiday season build-up. Overall sales for 2012 are expected to reach $32.4B, only slightly better than last year’s $31.9B and flat growth in 2010. Over the next five years to 2016, look for biggest growth (30% CAGR) in power chips to come from media tablets, notably the iPad. Double-digit growth in demand is also expected from mobile handsets (11.7%), mobile infrastructure (13.1%), and digital set-top boxes (12.3%).

The main growth device in power management semiconductors, insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) modules, which see wide application in alternative energy generation (13.3% CAGR), automotive safety/control (13.1%), and industrial building/home control (12.2%). Application in DC-DC non-isolated usage for inverters and alternative power sources gets special mention by iSuppli, as does low-voltage MOSFETs used in appliances, media tablets, and mobile infrastructure.

3Q11 4Q11 1Q12 2Q12
8.4 7.5 7.2 7.9

Worldwide revenue forecast for power management
semiconductors, in US $B. (Source: IHS iSuppli)

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