$49.4B semiconductor equipment forecast: New record, Korea at top

By Pete Singer

At a SEMICON West press conference yesterday, SEMI released its Mid-year Forecast. Worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment are projected to increase 19.8 percent to total $49.4 billion in 2017, marking the first time that the semiconductor equipment market has exceeded the market high of $47.7 billion set in 2000. In 2018, 7.7 percent growth is expected, resulting in another record-breaking year ─ totaling $53.2 billion for the global semiconductor equipment market.

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“It’s really an exciting time for the industry in the terms of technology, the growth in information and data and that’s all going to require semiconductors to enable that growth,” said Dan Tracy, senior director, IR&S at SEMI.

The average of various analysts forecast the semiconductor industry in general 12% growth for the year. “It’s a very good growth year for the industry,” Tracy said. “In January, the consensus was about 5% growth for the year and with the improvement in the market and the firmer pricing for memory we see an increase in the outlook for the market.”

The SEMI Mid-year Forecast predicts wafer processing equipment is anticipated to increase 21.7 percent in 2017 to total $39.8 billion. The other front-end segment, which consists of fab facilities equipment, wafer manufacturing, and mask/reticle equipment, will increase 25.6 percent to total $2.3 billion. The assembly and packaging equipment segment is projected to grow by 12.8 percent to $3.4 billion in 2017 while semiconductor test equipment is forecast to increase by 6.4 percent, to a total of $3.9 billion this year.

“Based on the May outlook, we are looking at a record year in terms of tracking equipment spending. This is for new equipment, used equipment, and spending related to the facility that installed the equipment. It will be about a $49 billion market this year. Next year, it’s going to grow to $54 billion, so we have two years in a row of back to back record spending,” Tracy said.

In 2017, South Korea will be the largest equipment market for the first time. After maintaining the top spot for five years, Taiwan will place second, while China will come in third. All regions tracked will experience growth, with the exception of Rest of World (primarily Southeast Asia). South Korea will lead in growth with 68.7 percent, followed by Europe at 58.6 percent, and North America at 16.3 percent.

SEMI forecasts that in 2018, equipment sales in China will climb the most, 61.4 percent, to a total of $11.0 billion, following 5.9 percent growth in 2017. In 2018, South Korea, Taiwan, and China are forecast to remain the top three markets, with South Korea maintaining the top spot to total $13.4 billion. China is forecasted to become the second largest market at $11.0 billion, while equipment sales to Taiwan are expected to reach $10.9 billion.

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