Despite a slight spending decline expected in 2012, a revised capital spending forecast from Gartner highlights an overall increase in spending over the next four years, compared to a previous forecast. Worldwide semiconductor capital equipment spending is expected to reach US$44.8 billion in 2011, a 10.2 percent increase from 2010 spending of US$40.6 billion, according to Gartner.
"Capital spending and the equipment picture have changed little since our last forecast in the first quarter of 2011, in spite of the disastrous earthquake in Japan, which threatened to disrupt the electronics supply chain," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner. "Thanks to herculean efforts by Japanese vendors, the effects of the quake were minimized."
All segments of the semiconductor capital equipment market are expected to experience growth in 2011, which is being driven by aggressive foundry spending, IDM logic capacity ramping up at the leading edge, and memory companies gearing up for double patterning lithography requirements. This is expected to produce wafer fab equipment (WFE) revenue growth of 11.7% in 2011.
The next cyclical decline, according to Gartner should take place in late 2013, as the impact of memory oversupply takes its toll, once more.