Microcontroller prices set to rise

Market news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

As a result the MCU market will rise by 4 percent to $16.6 billion in 2016, the market researcher said.

MCU market history and forecast. Source: IC Insights.

Revenue from microcontroller (MCU) sales rose by less than a half percent in 2015 to slightly more than $15.9 billion despite a 15 percent increase in MCU shipments that lifted worldwide unit volumes to an all-time peak of 22.1 billion.

Strong unit growth, driven by smartcard proliferation and 32-bit adoption, enabled the MCU market to overcome a 13 percent drop in the average selling price (ASP). Price erosion, especially in 32-bit MCUs, has hurt the market growth for the sales growth in three of the last four years, but ASPs are now expected to stabilize and increase through to 2020.

However while ASP erosion is expected to end unit shipment growth is expected to moderate. Total MCU revenue growth is expected to gradually strengthen between 2016 and 2019 – when sales are forecast to grow 9 percen – before easing back to a 4 percent increase in 2020.  

A major factor in slower MCU unit growth through 2020 is the maturing of the smartcard market, which in recent years has accounted for nearly half of microcontroller shipments and about 15 to 16 percent of total revenue.  By 2020, smartcard MCUs are expected to represent 38 percent of total microcontroller unit shipments and about 12 percent of sales.

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