SAN FRANCISCO--During the electronicaUSA conference here, Greg Sheppard, executive vice president at iSuppli Corp., in a presentation characterized the overall outlook for the electronics industry as "tortured optimism," with most indicators pointing up.
Sheppard also predicted that semiconductor sales will rise in the 20 percent range in 2004, compared to 13.9 percent in 2003. Revenue for all the major electronic applications markets--such as computing, wireless communications, consumer electronics and wired communications--will increase in 2004, he said.
However, some negatives in the worldwide economy still could hurt electronics market growth, he warned. These include slow growth in employment, selective spending on IT equipment by corporations and potential problems for foreign economies due to the weak dollar, he added.
Joe D'Elia, director of market intelligence services for iSuppli, said corporate and consumer demand for PCs has snapped back after a two-year lull. Worldwide PC unit sales will rise 13.3 percent in 2004, up from 10.5 percent in 2003, D'Elia predicted.
However, the long-term growth for the market will be slower than historical averages, with sales projected to rise at an average rate in the 10 percent range in the coming years, compared to 14 to 15 percent in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, electronic display industry revenue will grow by 23 percent in 2004, driven by the conversion from CRT to LCD technology in markets like desktop PC monitors, said Paul Semenza, executive vice president for iSuppli/Stanford Resources.
Excluding CRT technology, the display market would grow by 33 percent this year, he added. Semenza predicted that LCD sales would outstrip those of CRTs in the combined desktop PC monitor and television market by 2007.
Steve Rago, principal analyst for iSuppli, said the wired-communications equipment market will cease its bleeding in 2004 after a protracted downturn. However, growth will be relatively weak, at a 2 percent rate from 2003 to 2007, Rago said.