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Gartner Raises Growth Forecast for Global Semiconductor Sales in 2014

Aug 28, 2014 | By Ken Liu

Market consultant Gartner, Inc. has recently raised its growth forecast for global semiconductor sales to an annual rate of 6.7% in 2014 with revenue of around US$336 billion, up from the previous quarter's forecast of a 5.4% increase.

The company raised the forecast based on that sequential growth in Q2, 2014 to outpace expectations at many companies, including foundry leader TSMC, which reported Q2 sequential growth exceeding 20%.

Gartner predicts the DRAM market to rise above US$41 billion in 2014 due to firm pricing and growth in key system market. Since memory chip is a feast-or-famine market due to steep supply-demand shifts, Gartner forecast the next big oversupply downturn to hit in 2016, thereby hamstring overall semiconductor growth.

Bryan Lewis, research vice president at Gartner, felt that semiconductor growth in 2014 is widespread across many chip types and applications. He pointed out that although DRAM is once again expected to lead in 2014 with annual growth of 18.8%, other areas are also doing well, including analog, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and non-optical sensors.

Gartner pointed out that ASICs are mostly driven by Apple, which is expected to see strong sales of its iPhone in the second half of 2014. ASICs will also benefit from the vigorous rollouts of the latest generation of video game consoles, particularly the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One. Overall semiconductor growth is widespread, with the non-memory segment growing 5.2% in 2014, compared with the 0.8% in 2013.

Smartphones and ultra-mobile devices as tablets are the growth areas from a system point of view, according to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. He projected traditional desk-based PCs and notebook units to continue declining in 2014, at the annual rate of 6.7%. Production of ultra-mobile devices, including tablets, is expected to grow over 30% by quantity as a whole in 2014. Low-cost utility tablets (white box) will continue to drive new growth in the tablet market. (KL)


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