SAN FRANCISCO—Semiconductor unit shipments are projected to top the 1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, with the vast majority made up of optoelectronics, sensors, actuators and discretes, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.
Semiconductor shipments totaled 868.8 billion units last year and are expected to top 900 billion in 2017, according to IC Insights. In 2018, unit shipments are forecast to surpass 1 trillion after growing an average of 9 percent per year since 1978, when some 32.6 billion semiconductors shipped, according to the firm.
Over the past 40 years, the largest annual increase for semiconductor unit shipments was 34 percent in 1984. The largest decline was 19 percent in 2001, following the dot-com bust, IC Insights said.
Unit shipments fell in both 2008 and 2009, after the global financial meltdown, the only time on record that the semiconductor industry contracted for two consecutive years. But shipments rebounded in 2010, growing 25 percent, the second-largest one-year increase in the past 40 years, according to the market research firm.
Despite the rise to prominence and complexity of the integrated circuit (IC), semiconductor shipments are still dominated by shipments of opto-sensor-discrete, or OSD, devices, IC Insights said. Last year, OSDs made up 72 percent of shipments compared to 28 percent for ICs. In 1980, that ratio was 78 percent to 22 percent in favor of OSDs, IC Insights said.
The commodity-filled discretes devices category—including transistor products, diodes, rectifiers, and thyristors—accounted for 44 percent of all semiconductor units shipped in 2016, according to a forthcoming update to IC Insights’ McClean Report.
Among ICs, more than 52 percent of ICs shipped in 2016 were analog ICs, according to IC Insights. Analog ICs still accounted for only about 15 percent of total semiconductor shipments last year, however, the firm said.