There is a great deal of uncertainty now that the transition is underway, but then again there was already a certain degree of uncertainty before as the market settled in and the same cycle repeated itself. Uncertainty is just part of the dynamic with these kinds of forecasts. The only way to reduce uncertainty is to look at specific outcomes over many years carefully, which may be hard to do given the current state of the market.
Hi Jessica - per the subject I have just run my LRA forecasting model using the latest end-of-year 2013 sales numbers recently posted (Feb 4th, 2014) by the SIA / WSTS. The resulting global semi sales and sales growth numbers "spit out" by the model are summarized below:
1Q14 = $74.91 billion w/ yr-o-yr sales growth of 6.3%;
2Q14 = $77.16 billion w/yr-o-yr sales growth of 3.4%;
3Q14 = $83.11 billion w/yr-o-yr sales growth of 3.2%;
and 4Q14 = $81.49 billion w/yr-o-yr sales growth of 1.9%.
Therefore, the model's latest, just updated full year 2014 sales and sales growth expectations are $316.668 billion and 3.6%, respectively.
These latest Cowan LRA Model's predictions are in excellent agreement with the WSTS's Dec 2013 sales forecast estimate of $316.636 billion which, employing the final 2013 sales number of $305.584, corresponds to a 2014 yr-o-yr sales growth forecast of 3.6% also.
Mike Cowan, independent semiconductor industry watcher and creator of the Cowan LRA Model for forecasting global semiconductor sales
I think 4% revenue growth is more reasonable and still optimistic. The market is changing with increased competition and more focus on mobile, embedded, and new IoT applications that are often smaller and less expensive. Units should still continue to grow, but we are likely on a plateau for revenue.
I am thinking that there is good growth in the market but not in the areas where it has come before. Contrast this to the ugly things that have come out of Intel and other traditional leaders recently and you see a real transition away from dependence on PC growth and towards cell phones / tablets / smart thermostats and smoke alarms. That type of shift tends to introduce more uncertainty into predictions.
DB couldn't give additional details on why they forecast 8% growth, which is double that of the WSTS. WSTS/SIA (which use the same numbers) couldn't comment beyond "improved macro picture" - which makes me curious why there is such a difference in estimates. Is ~4% or 8% growth in 2014 more likely?