SAN JOSE, Calif. In another sign that the IC business is slowing and maturing, the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) group on Tuesday (Oct. 31) reduced its semiconductor forecast for 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The global semiconductor market is expected to grow by 8.5 percent to $247 billion in 2006, according to the autumn forecast of the WSTS. Projected growth in the worldwide semiconductor market will moderately increase to 8.6 percent in 2007 and culminate with 12.1 percent in 2008, according to the group.
The WSTS autumn 2006 projection is lower than the forecast released this spring, which estimated a 10.1 percent growth for the year. At the time, the WSTS raised its chip forecast for 2006. It also projected that the IC market would grow by 11.0 percent in 2007 and 12.8 percent in 2008.
''The variances to the spring forecast relate to a few, albeit significant products, whereas the majority of products remained close to the patterns predicted in the spring,'' according to the group. ''The most notable decline was in microcomputers.''
The WSTS foresees a continuously growing demand for electronic products such as PCs, digital consumer appliances and mobile communications. The Asia Pacific region continues to be the fastest growing geographical area, now primarily due to rising domestic demand, whereas the manufacturing shift had been the primary contributor to its past growth rate, according to the group.
Asia-Pacific's IC market is expected to grow 10.9 percent in 2006, 10.2 percent in 2007 and 13.6 percent in 2008, while the Americas is expected to grow 11.5 percent in 2006, 7.4 percent in 2007 and 10.7 percent in 2008.
Japan's IC market is expected to grow 6.7 percent in 2006, 7.1 percent in 2007 and 10.7 percent in 2008, while Europe is expected to grow 0.9 percent in 2006, 6.8 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 2008.
Other research houses have a different viewpoint.
Semico Research Corp. (Phoenix) predicts that the overall semiconductor market will grow by 7 percent in 2007. The firm calls for 11 percent growth for chips in 2006.
In comparison, the overall IC industry is expected to grow 10.9 percent in 2006 and 9.4 percent in 2007, according to Gartner Inc.