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iSuppli: Semiconductor rankings revealed for 2010

17 December 2010 | By Mark Osborne | News > Fab Management

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Being that time of year again, market positions of the top semiconductor companies are scrutinised. This time, iSuppli Corp has provided its preliminary Top 20 rankings by revenue though unlike the recent Gartner list includes a further 10 companies.

There were also no shocks to be seen in the rankings of both market research firms positioning of number 1 through number 10. They also come close to each others preliminary revenue and growth forecasts.

Gartner, typically more conservative in its forecasts than iSuppli, expects worldwide semiconductor revenue to reach US$300 billion with growth pegged at 31.5%. Close but more optimistic is iSuppli’s forecast of US$304 billion in 2010 and a growth rate of 32.5%.

In an acknowledgement that earlier growth forecasts had been less robust, iSuppli’s Dale Ford said, “The actual growth far outstripped all expectations. The enormous expansion in semiconductor revenue was based on renewed demand for electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions and cell phones. However, semiconductor sales in 2010 are set to rise at more than three times the rate of electronics equipment revenue. This augmented growth is being driven by a range of multiplying factors, including inventory rebuilding, upward price pressure due to a supply/demand imbalance and an increase in the average semiconductor content of major electronic products.”

The percentage growth was higher in 2001 than in 2010, when revenue rose by 36.7%. However, revenue increased by US$74.5 billion in 2010, a record increase that according to the market research firm, ‘shattered the previous benchmark’ expansion of US$59.2 billion in 2001.

The market research firm also noted that out of 150 semiconductor suppliers tracked by the firm on a quarterly basis, 90% are expected to achieve revenue growth in 2010.   

With stronger recovery in the industry than previously expected, iSuppli felt that there were some surprises from this year’s market dynamics.

Despite the relatively modest growth of worldwide car sales in 2010, the automotive semiconductor market is expected to see 41.1% growth. This will vastly exceed the growth of the second-fastest growing segment, the data processing semiconductor market, which expanded by 36.7% largely because of the growth in the DRAM segment.

Smart phone shipments may have strong, not least to that fact that Apple and Google have at last provided the type of operating software everyone wants, the wireless communications segment will see the lowest overall growth among the major chip application markets, with semiconductor revenue increasing by only 24.4% this year.

Another surprising outcome, according to the market research firm is that chip sales to the Americas market are expected to see the highest growth of all worldwide regions in 2010, growing 38.4%.

The Asia-Pacific region in is projected to drop to second place in 2010, with 37.6% growth, again a little bit of a surprise.

With all of the market share moves among the Top 20 suppliers, only one company is at risk of dropping out of the list of 20. At this point, iSuppli projects nVidia Corp. of the United States will retain its ranking at No. 20. However, ROHM Semiconductor is competing for the final slot among the Top 20 and the final outcome should be very close.

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