SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics and Apple were the top two buyers of semiconductors for the seventh consecutive year in 2017, distancing themselves further from the pack.
The two electronics powerhouse spent a combined $81.8 billion on chips last year, representing 19.5 percent of the global total, according to Gartner Inc. The pair has topped the list each year since 2011.
The combined total of $81.8 billion spent on chips by Apple and Samsung represented an increase of more than $20 billion compared with 2016, Gartner noted.
"Samsung Electronics and Apple not only retained their respective No. 1 and No. 2 positions, they also radically increased their share of semiconductor spending through 2017," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner, in a press statement.
Eight of the top 10 chip buyers from 2016 remained in 2017, Gartner said. The top five chip buyers — Samsung, Apple, Dell, Lenovo and Huawei — remained the same. Western Digital, which increased chip spending by $1.7 billion in 2017, joined the top 10 semiconductor buyers list for the first time, while LG Electronics returned to the top 10 after a one-year absence.
The top 10 global OEMs accounted for 40 percent of chip spending in 2017, up from 31 percent in 10 years ago, Gartner said. The firm predicted that the number would rise to 45 percent by 2021.
Gartner also noted that the significant increases in price for DRAM and NAND flash memory chips last year had an impact on the rankings. The firm also warned that an increase in spending on captive chips by OEMs poses a great risk to commercial chip vendors' future growth prospects.
— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.