LONDON – In 2012, after several years of growth stability engendered by the size and diversity of the market, the MCU market became more complex with unit shipments surging 16 percent while revenues declined 3 percent and average selling prices (ASPs) plunged 17 percent, according to market analysis firm IC Insights.
The price erosion was due to competition in 32-bit MCUs. While MCU shipments climbed to a record high of 17.3 billion units the value of sales fell to $15.2 billion.
The MCU market will return to growth in value in 2013 with a 2 percent rise to $15.5 billion with unit shipments growing 10 percent to 19.1 billion units, according to the market analysis firm. This implies an ASP erosion of 8 percent. Between 2012 and 2017, MCU revenues are projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8 percent while unit shipments are expected to rise by a CAGR of 10.1 percent over the five-year period.
The market division between 8-, 16- and 32-bit MCUs is clearly moving to the benefit of 32-bit MCU suppliers. In 2013, 16-bit MCU shipments are expected to rise 9 percent to 7.9 billion units. Shipments of 4-/8-bit MCUs are expected to grow 6 percent to 6.7 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, 32-bit MCU shipments are forecast to climb by 20 percent in 2013 to 4.5 billion units.
Over the next five years 32-bit devices will steadily grab a greater share of sales and unit volumes. By 2017, 32-bit MCUs are expected to account for 55 percent of microcontroller sales, while 16-bit devices will represent 22 percent of market revenues and 4-/8-bit will be about 23 percent, based on IC Insights’ forecast. In terms of unit volumes, 32-bit MCUs are expected account for 38 percent of microcontroller shipments in 2017, while 16-bit devices will represent 34 percent of the total, and 4-/8-bit designs are forecast to be 28 percent of units sold that year.
Click on image to enlarge.
A growing number of MCU suppliers are offering product families based on 32-bit RISC-processor cores licensed from ARM Holdings plc, which began pursuing the microcontroller segment about eight years ago. ARM has quickly established a major position in the MCU market by offering intellectual property (IP) and design technologies that are similar to RISC-core technologies used in most application processors for cellphones and tablet computers.
32-bit MCU's are starting to be used everywhere as things get more and more smart - NEST thermostat, for example. Just about everything these days would like to talk over the internet, or at least an internal network. This is much easier on the 32-bit devices.
ErrantOne, the 32-bit sleep state may not save you power, but you may save power by the 32-bit MCU needing to be awake for less time (ie, use fewer clock cycles) than an 8-bit in order to accomplish the task. With less on-time the average power goes down, even if the operating power of the 32-bit device is greater than the 8-bit.
4-bit microcontroller, I never use it. Which field it can be used? in children's toy?
Now, more and more project start to use 32-bit MCU, because the embedded linux operating sysyem need to port on it. The performance of 4/8/16 is not enough to support.
As devices get smaller it is sometimes more about electric power rather than number of bits. A few microamps saved here and there is important. If i can get 32bits and the power use of 8bits, then I'm interested. As it is, MCUs spend alot of time sleeping, depending on application. Tell me how 32bit MCU sleep state saves me more power......
The data and the article do not align:
16-bit ASP has declined from .71 in 2011 to a projected .53 in 2013. This is in contrast to 8-bit ASP of .65 and 32-bit ASP of 1.53 in 2013. At 41% of the forecasted unit volume, this is driving the ASP erosion.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.