Although semiconductor revenues are projected to have been down 11.4% in 2009, compared with the previous year, Gartner has reported that leading-brand electronic equipment and design manufacturers (OEMs) remained key customers to the semiconductor industry. Gartner projects that OEMs purchased US$77.3 billion of semiconductors in 2009. Total semiconductor sales are projected to have been US$226 billion in 2009, according to the market research firm.
"The supply chains of the electronics industry have become more complicated, and, thus, the importance of original design manufacturer (ODM) businesses has risen," said Masatsune Yamaji, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner. "As such, the top 10 branded OEM/ODM companies accounted for a third of all semiconductor demand in 2009, as they did in 2008."
According to Gartner, Apple and Acer were the only electronic equipment manufacturers among the top 10 companies to increase their semiconductor demand in 2009. Acer was ranked ninth in 2009, up from 11th in 2008.
Samsung accounted for the second-largest demand for semiconductors in 2009 and is regarded as the most successful vertically integrated manufacturer. Mobile phone leader, Nokia ranked third, after losing business worldwide, especially in the U.S, according to Gartner.
"Though the importance of ODM business has been increasing for the past 10 years, the leading brand companies are still the most important customers for semiconductor device vendors," Mr. Yamaji said. "Semiconductor vendors should pay much more attention to the leading electronic equipment manufacturers and their customers, who are catching up with the market trends and who will survive in the future."
With PC demand set to grow again in 2010, coupled to greater adoption of smart phones and better pricing of memory chips, semiconductor revenue should exceed 2009 levels.