This growth figure is up from 4 percent that Gartner was giving as recently as October 2017 (see Global chip market forecast raised again). It is roughly in line with growth given by IC Insights for the IC market, a subset of the total semiconductor market. IC Insights recently forecast the total IC market will grow 8 percent in 2018 to $393.9 billion.
Ben Lee, principal research analyst, said the continued strength in the memory market was responsible for the growth in 2018, although this differs from some market observers who see the memory boom as being at or past its peak.
Gartner doesn’t see a major memory correction coming until 2019. “After growing by 22.2 percent in 2017, worldwide semiconductor revenue will revert back to single-figure growth in 2018 before a correction in the memory market results in revenue declining slightly in 2019, said Lee, in a statement.
Gartner has increased the outlook for 2018 by $23.6 billion compared with the previous forecast, of which the memory market accounts for $19.5 billion. Price increases for both DRAM and NAND flash memory are raising the outlook for the overall semiconductor market, Lee said.
The quarterly growth profile for 2018 is expected to follow a conventional pattern with a mid-single-digit sequential decline in the first quarter of the year, followed by growth in the second quarter increasing in the third quarter, and a slight decline in the fourth quarter.
After subtracting memory from the figures the remainder of the semiconductor market is forecast to grow 4.6 percent in 2018, compared with 9.4 percent in 2017, with field-programmable gate array (FPGA), optoelectronics, ASICS and non-optical sensors leading the semiconductor device categories.
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