Samsung edges out Intel in booming semiconductor market
As expected memory supplier Samsung emerged as the leading semiconductor vendor but its margin over second-placed Intel was smaller than Gartner had previously forecast. Samsung had annual semiconductor sales in 2017of $59.875 billion compared with Intel’s semiconductor sales of $58.725 billion.
As recently as January 2018 Gartner had forecast Samsung would achieve more than $61 billion in sales compared to an Intel number of $57.7 billion (see Samsung leads 2017 chip company ranking).
Top ten semiconductor vendors ranked by worldwide revenue in 2017 (Millions of U.S. dollars). Source: Gartner Inc.
Samsung’s success, and that of other companies climbing the ranking of leading vendors, was driven by high average selling prices and increased unit sales of NAND flash memory and DRAM. The memory market surged by nearly $50 billion in 2017 to reach $130 billion, a 61.8 percent increase from 2016. Samsung’s memory revenue alone increased by nearly $20 billion in 2017. However, Gartner predicts Samsung’s lead will disappear when the memory market goes into its bust cycle, most likely in late 2019.
Non-memory semiconductors grew $24.8 billion to reach $290 billion, representing a growth rate of 9.3 percent
Industrial and automotive equipment markets maintained double-digit percentage growth in 2017 and this helped drive sales at such broadline suppliers as Infineon, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments, Gartner said.
Next: IoT Impact
The semiconductor industry continues to see escalating values for merger and acquisition deals but it is making the deals harder to close. Avago successfully bought Broadcom for $37 billion in 2016 but Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm and Qualcomm’s bid to buy NXP Semiconductors for $44 billion has stalled on the need for Chinese regional authority approval.
Growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) is having a significant impact on the semiconductor market, with application-specific standard products (ASSPs) for consumer applications up by 14.3 percent and industrial ASSPs rising by 19.1 percent in 2017. Semiconductors for wireless connectivity showed the highest growth with 19.3 percent in 2017, and topping $10 billion for the first time, despite reduced component prices and the static smartphone industry.
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