ARM has been the overall market leader since the IP cores market became sufficiently large to be recognized but in the last few years it has lost out to followers Cadence and Synopsys. In 2020 the market grew 16.7 percent to be worth $4.6 billion.

ARM grew its revenues by 17.4 percent to increases its market leading share at 41 percent. ARM’s IP royalty sales grew by 16 percent and IP license sales grew by 19.9 percent Esteve said.


Companies ranked by semiconductor design IP revenue in 2020 (millions of dollars). Source: IPnest.

However, second and third ranked Synopsys and Cadence continued to put on weight faster than ARM, growing their IP revenues at 23.4 and 19.0 percent, respectively. And Imagination, once a rival to ARM, managed to bounce back with a 43.7 percent increase in IP revenue, although it is now a long way behind the top three, who own two-thirds of the IP market between them.

Synopsys was the market leader in the wired interface IP category with 55 percent market share. But Synopsys has been successful in many other categories, namely analog and mixed-signal, library and I/O, memory compiler. That’s why in 2020, Synopsys was for the second year running market leader in IP licensing with 30 percent market share (see Synopsys above ARM in IP licensing revenue in 2019).

 2020 design IP revenues by category. Source: IPnest.

The fastest growing company in the ranking is Alphawave. The company was founded in 2017 and achieved $25 million of serdes IP sales in 2019 and managed to triple that in 2020.

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News articles:

Synopsys above ARM in IP licensing revenue in 2019

ARM, MIPS, Imagination lose IP market share

ARM loses IP market share to fast-growing followers

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