The five biggest microcontroller suppliers in 2021
In 2021, NXP in the Netherlands was the largest supplier of microcontrollers and slightly widened its revenue lead over second-place Microchip by $103 million. Microchip increased its sales lead over third-ranked Renesas by about $40 million last year, according new estimates by IC Insights.
Three of the top five microcontroller suppliers in 2021 are headquartered in Europe (NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Infineon), one in the US (Microchip) and one in Japan (Renesas). These accounted for 82.1% of worldwide MCU sales in 2021 compared to 72.2% in 2016.
These five dominate the market, with the second half of the top 10 (Texas Instruments, Nuvoton, Rohm, Samsung, and Toshiba) accounted for $2.3 billion in MCU sales last year, or 11.4% of the market total. Outside the top 10, other suppliers had just 6.5% marketshare in 2021.
Fourth-place STMicroelectronics saw the strongest sales increase in the MCU ranking with revenues rising 35% in 2021, which nearly lifted the company past Renesas—putting it just $46 million behind its Japanese rival. ST claims to have the leading position in 32bit microcontrollers using data from Omdia.
Renesas had been the largest MCU supplier through the first half of the last decade but was passed in 2016 after NXP acquired Freescale at the end of 2015. Renesas has acknowledged it had fallen behind but is actively looking to gain market share with ARM and RISC-V based 32bit controllers as well as its 8bit and16bit devices
Infineon in Germany remained in fifth place in the 2021 microcontroller ranking with sales that increased 22% to $2.4 billion—about $996 million less than ST in MCUs last year. Infineon moved into the top five MCU ranking after acquiring Cypress Semiconductor in April 2020 for $9.3 billion to expand further in automotive microcontrollers, power management, and other embedded systems applications.
Samsung is reported to be eying a takeover of NXP to boost its position in the rankings.
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The sales rankings of the five largest microcontroller suppliers remained unchanged from 2020, with much of the new growth driven by embedded automation and the spread of sensors. The pervasiveness of microcontrollers was a key factor in suppliers being unable to keep up with the strong 2021 rebound from the 2020 global downturn.
After falling 7% in 2019 because of a weak global economy and then dropping 2% in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, microcontroller sales saw a 27% increase in 2021 to a record-high $20.2 billion.
The average selling price (ASP) for MCUs climbed 12% in 2021—the highest annual increase since the mid-1990s. However shipments grew just 13% in 2021 to 31.2 billion units, constrained by the manufacturing capacity which is on older process technology.
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