SAN FRANCISCO—The semiconductor industry may yet be flat in 2016, a remarkable possibility given the pessimism that colored industry forecasts earlier in the year.
The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) group earlier this month revised its forecast for the year, saying that it now expects 2016 sales to be flat with 2015. The forecast was revised thanks to an industry rebound in recent months that culminated with October seeing the largest year-to-year sales increase since March 2015.
In June, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) endorsed a forecast by the WSTS that called for semiconductor industry sales to decline by 2.4% compared to 2015. At the time, the SIA was joining a chorus of market watchers that were predicting that 2016 would be a down year, including influential market research firms like IHS Inc., Gartner Inc. and International Data Corp.
John Neuffer, SIA
The WSTS now expects 2016 chip sales to be roughly $335 billion, virtually unchanged from 2015. Projected growth of 22% in sensors as well as growth in analog, discretes and microprocessors is expected to offset declines in optoelectronics, memory and logic, according to the WSTS.
The revised WSTS forecast also calls for moderate growth in semiconductor sales of 3% in 2017 and 2% in 2018.
The WSTS is an organization comprised of about 55 member companies. It compiles sales data and forecasts based on data provided by members.
Chip sales reached $30.5 billion in October, up 3% from September and up 5% from October 2015, according to the WSTS. Sales growth in China, Japan and other Asian countries as well as a slight uptick in U.S. sales more than offset a 3% year-to-year decline in European sales, according to the WSTS.
”“The global semiconductor market has rebounded in recent months, with October marking the largest year-to-year sales increase since March 2015,” said John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO, in a statement. “Sales increased compared to last month across all regional markets and nearly every major semiconductor product category.”
Neuffer added, “All told, the industry is well-positioned for a strong close to 2016.”
Global semiconductor sales in billions of dollars.
—Dylan McGrath covers the semiconductor industry for EE Times.