SAN FRANCISCOŚJapan's Renesas Electronics Corp. remained the dominant supplier of microcontrollers in 2011, despite fallout from the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck last March and wreaked havoc on the company's production capabilities for several months, according to market research firm Databeans Inc.
Renesas (Tokyo) logged microcontroller sales of $2.62 billion in 2011, down about 1 percent from 2010, according to Databeans (Reno, Nev.). Renesas' microcontroller market share slipped to 17.3 percent in 2011 from 17.9 percent in 2010, but remained significantly higher than second-ranked Freescale Semiconductor Inc., which increased its MCU market share to 10.1 percent in 2011 from 10 percent in 2010, according to Databeans.
The most notable improvement in the microcontroller rankings in 2011 came from Atmel Corp., which climbed to No. 3 from No. 5 with an increase in microcontroller revenue of 25 percent, according to Databeans estimates. Atmel is engaged in the growing touch screen controller market, which is experiencing growing demand among smartphone suppliers and other consumer segments as well as the computer market, Databeans said. Overall competition in touch screen controllers from Atmel, Microchip Technology Corp. and Infineon Technologies AG has become very closeŚwith less than 1 percent seperating the three firms, according to Databeans.
The automotive market remains the single largest application for microcontrollers, with nearly $6 billion in global sales estimates for 2012, Databeans said. That amount is expected to be 39 percent of the total 2012 microcontroller market, the firm said. The automotive market is also slated to be one of the fastest growing overall with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent forecasted through 2017, Databeans said.
The consumer market for microcontrollers is also forecasted to grow at the same 9 percent CAGR over the next five years, Databeans said. The smart card market is the second fastest growing market within microcontrollers, mostly on the strength of the touch screen controller market, Databeans said.