Market research firm has made its first significant revision to its semiconductor sales forecast for 2009 that is actually less pessimistic than previous projections. Due to better than expected PC sales in Q1, coupled to guidance from a number of IC companies, Gartner expects global semiconductor sales to reach US$198 billion in 2009, a 22.4% decline from 2008 revenue of us$255 billion. Gartner had previously projected a 24.1% decline for 2009.
"First quarter PC shipments came in better than expected, which led to an improved outlook for microprocessors, but we believe most of this improvement was due to the fact that inventories had been run down too far, rather than true demand returning," said Bryan Lewis, research vice president at Gartner.
The aggressive and reactionary inventory burn in the PC market in the fourth quarter of 2008 and in January and February 2009 pushed component demand significantly below PC demand, according to Gartner. As the inventory correction swings in the opposite direction, Gartner expects component prices to stabilize through the year.
"We are expecting 4.9 percent growth in second quarter semiconductor sales based on recent semiconductor company guidance, and this positive movement has caused us to move away from our 1Q09 worst-case scenario of a record down year in 2009. While this is positive news, the semiconductor industry is clearly not out of the woods, as there is minimal evidence that demand is returning, except in China," noted Lewis.
Gartner said that Application-Specific Standard Product (ASSP) would continue to lead semiconductor revenue, as it is forecast to total US$51.9 billion in 2009, still a 24.2% decline from 2008 levels.
The memory market is expected to reach US$39.4 billion, a 16.8% decline from 2008. The microcomponents segment (microprocessors, micro controller units, digital signal processors) will drop from the No. 2 spot in 2008 to the No. 3 spot in 2009. Microcomponents are projected to reach US$37.3 billion, a 23.6% decline from 2008.