SAN FRANCISCO — Global semiconductor sales are expected to increase by 6.9 percent in 2013 to reach $320 billion, driven largely by growth in smartphone and other mobile computing devices, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC).
IDC projects that chip sales will grow an additional 2.9 percent in 2014 to reach $329 billion. The market research firm projects that semiconductor revenue will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2 percent from 2012 to 2017, hitting $366 billion in 2017.
Semiconductor sales declined by 2.7 percent in 2012, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association trade group. It was the third time chip sales had contracted year-over-year since 2001.
IDC said a number of factors -- including continued global macroeconomic uncertainty, a slowdown in China, the eurozone debt crisis and recession, Japan's recession, and the US sequester -- could all affect global semiconductor demand this year.
But, IDC said, mobile phones and tablets will drive a significant portion of the growth in the semiconductor market this year. PC demand continues to wane, but strong memory growth and higher average selling prices (ASPs) in DRAM and NAND will boost the semiconductor market in 2013, IDC predicts. The firm said it believes semiconductor inventories decreased in the first half of 2013 and are now in balance with demand, setting the stage for growth to resume in the second half of the year.
"Semiconductors for smartphones will see healthy revenue growth as demand for increased speeds and additional features continue to drive high-end smartphone demand in developed countries and low-cost smartphones in developing countries," said Nina Turner, IDC's research manager for semiconductors, in the press release.
Turner said less expensive smartphones in developing countries will account for an increasing portion of the semiconductor market. "PC semiconductor demand will remain weak for 2013 as the market continues to be affected by the worldwide macroeconomic environment and the encroachment of tablets," she said.