SAN FRANCISCO—Applied Materials Inc. reclaimed the leadership among semiconductor equipment vendors in 2012 as the total market for chip gear declined sharply due to oversupply in the memory chip market, according to market research firm Gartner Inc.
Global semiconductor capital equipment spending totaled $37.8 billion in 2012, a decline of 16.1 compared to 2011, Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) said.
Wafer-level manufacturing underperformed the market in 2012, pulled down by weakness in lithography and deposition, Gartner said. Among the major sectors, those more strongly driven by logic manufacturing, 28/20-nanometer processing and yield ramps-ups did better, Gartner said.
"Continued oversupply in DRAM and the shift to NAND into oversupply led to a reduced need for capacity," said Klaus-Dieter Rinnen, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement.
Rinnen said memory manufacturing-related purchases declined significantly in 2012. A slight increase in logic-related spending provided some counterbalance, Rinnen said, but was slowed in the second half by bulging inventories. "Consequently, manufacturing equipment sales realized a declining quarterly pattern, starting in the second quarter through the end of the year," Rinnen said.
In 2011, Applied Materials (Santa Clara, Calif.) was pushed to No. 2 in chip equipment sales after 19 consecutive years at the top of the heap. Dutch lithography vendor ASML assumed the No. 1 spot that year on strong sales of lithography equipment.