On a positive note, Gartner believes that capital spending in the semiconductor industry will return to growth in 2010 with gradual improvements on a quarter-by-quarter basis throughout the rest of 2009. According to Gartner’s latest forecast, worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending will reach US$24.3 billion in 2009, a 44.8% decline from 2008 spending of US$44 billion. Wafer fab spending will reach US$12.8 billion, a decline of 47.1% compared to 2008. In 2010, worldwide capital equipment spending is forecast to reach US$29.4 billion, a 20.9% increase from 2009. Wafer fab equipment spending is expected to top US$16.2 billion, a 26.4% increase over 2009.
“The impact of the economic crisis has hit the semiconductor equipment industry hard, but signs of life are returning,” said Klaus Rinnen, Managing Vice President at Gartner. “Undoubtedly it will be a long, slow road to complete recovery, but we are seeing the first indications of increased foundry activity to replenish inventories depleted by the cutbacks of the past few quarters.”
Gartner also said that the etch, clean and planarization equipment sectors would see the most sales in 2009 as the collapse in memory spending had hit sales of lithography tools, especially those of 193nm ArF immersion tools, which have significantly high ASPs.
On the negative side, Gartner has made considerable downward revisions to its capital equipment spending forecasts. In November, 2009 the market research firm expected a much less severe spending decline in 2009. This would be followed by a strong upward trajectory through 2011.
The June, 2009 revised forecast, clearly shows the lower sales levels expected through the period forecasted compared to last November’s projections. Only in 2012 do the past and present forecast come close to parity.