Market growth rate peaks after a strong 2017; IDC forecasts semiconductor revenue growth of 7.7%

After strong year-over-year growth of 24% in 2017, worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to grow for the third consecutive year in 2018 to $450 billion, up 7.7% over 2017, according to a new Semiconductor Applications Forecaster (SAF) from International Data Corporation (IDC). The SAF also forecasts that semiconductor revenues will log a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9% from 2017-2022, reaching $482 billion in 2022.

The overall memory market was the key story of last year, due to strong demand, limited supply, and product mix constraints. The DRAM and NAND memory markets grew to $73 billion and $49 billion respectively, reflecting year-over-year growth rates of 77% and 52% for 2017. Excluding DRAM and NAND, the overall semiconductor market grew by 12% year over year. For 2018, non-memory semiconductors are forecast to grow $11 billion to $302 billion. Both DRAM and NAND will continue to grow this year, but are expected to decline from 2019-2021 before recovering slightly in 2022.

The strong memory market resulted in Samsung Electronics capturing the top semiconductor manufacturer spot away from Intel and raised the profile of all the memory manufacturers, which now represent three of the top five semiconductor companies compared to only two the previous year. Revenue concentration continued to increase for the overall market with the top 10 companies making up 60% of the semiconductor market compared to 56% in 2016 and 53% in 2015.

“Market consolidation in the semiconductor industry over the past five years continues to shape the competitive landscape for semiconductor suppliers as each company continues to refine its core markets and make acquisitions to find new and emerging sectors for growth. The pace of change and technology is expected to accelerate as machine learning and autonomous systems enable a more diverse set of architectures to address the opportunity. This will fuel the engine of growth for semiconductor technology over the next decade,” said Mario Morales, program vice president, Semiconductors at IDC.

The automotive market and the industrial markets will continue to be the leading areas of growth for the semiconductor market throughout the forecast period, growing at a 9.6% and 6.8% CAGR from 2017-2022. “The key drivers of electrification, connectivity and infotainment, advanced driver assistance (ADAS), and autonomous driving features will continue to drive the growth of semiconductor content on a per vehicle basis,” said Nina Turner, research manager for Semiconductors at IDC.

Other key findings from IDC’s Semiconductor Application Forecaster (excluding memory) include:

  • Semiconductor revenue for the computing industry segment will decline 4.0% this year and will show a negative CAGR of -0.7% for the 2017-2022 forecast period. Two bright spots for the computing segment are computing and enterprise SSDs, growing in high double digits and 9.8% CAGR respectively for 2017-2022.
  • Semiconductor revenue for the mobile wireless communications segment will grow 5.5% year over year this year with a CAGR of 5.8% for 2017-2022. Semiconductor revenue for 4G mobile phones will experience an annual growth rate of 10.9% in 2018 and a CAGR of 3.1% for 2017-2022. 5G will also drive growth in the later part of the forecast as the technology becomes mainstream by the middle of the next decade.
  • Communications infrastructure semiconductors are forecast to grow at a 1.7% CAGR from 2017-2022 with the strongest growth coming from consumer networks.

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