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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Industry set to ship 1 trillion chips this year

By Nick Flaherty

The semiconductor industry is set to ship over 1 trillion devices this year, from integrated circuits to opto-sensor-discretes.

The market is set to grow 9% in 2018 to 1,075.1bn, according to the latest IC Insights’ McClean Report. The volume shipments are driven by sensors, accounting for 70% of total semiconductor units compared to 30% for ICs.

Over the span of just four years (2004-2007), semiconductor shipments broke through the 400-, 500-, and 600-billion unit levels before the global financial meltdown caused a big decline in semiconductor unit shipments in 2008 and 2009. Unit growth rebounded sharply with 25% growth in 2010 and displayed another strong increase in 2017 (14% growth) to climb past the 900-billion level.

The largest annual increase in semiconductor unit growth during the timespan shown was 34% in 1984, and the biggest decline was 19% in 2001 following the dot-com bust. The global financial meltdown and ensuing recession caused semiconductor shipments to fall in both 2008 and 2009; the only time that the industry experienced consecutive years in which unit shipments declined. The 25% increase in 2010 was the second-highest growth rate across the time span.

 Thirty-eight years ago in 1980, O-S-D devices accounted for 78% of semiconductor units and ICs represented 22% (Figure 2).

Semiconductor products forecast to have the strongest unit growth rates in 2018 are those that are essential building-block components in smartphones, automotive electronics systems, and within systems that are helping to build out of Internet of Things. 

The fastest growing categories for 2018 include the industrial sector with a 26% increase in analogue devices, a 22% growth in dedicated chips for consumer designs and a 21% growth in 32bit microcontrollers. Analogue devices for wireless communication are set for 18% growth while analogue for automotive will see 17% growth. Among O-S-D devices, CCDs and CMOS image sensors, laser transmitters, and every type of sensor product (magnetic, acceleration and yaw, pressure, and other sensors) are expected to enjoy double-digit unit growth this year.
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