The shipments are made up of two main classes: integrated circuits, which will grow 11 percent; and optoelectronics-sensors-discretes (or O-S-D, devices), which will grow 8 percent.

For 2018, semiconductor unit shipments are forecast to climb to 1,075.1 billion up from 32.6 billion units in 1978. Over that 40-year period the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) has been 9.1 percent.

Shipment growth has been consistent over the period with two major aberrations; the correction in 2001 after the dot-com bubble burst and in 2008-2009 after the global financial meltdown.

Semiconductor shipments broken down by OSD and IC. Source: IC Insights.

The percentage split of total semiconductor shipments is forecast to remain weighted toward O-S-D devices. In 2018, O-S-D devices are forecast to account for 70 percent of total semiconductor units compared to 30 percent for ICs. In 1980, O-S-D devices accounted for 78 percent of semiconductor units and ICs represented 22 percent.

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