SEMI survey: Equipment makers expect a “robust” 2004

December 3, 2003 – Semiconductor equipment manufacturers expect an 8% sales increase this year to $21.4 billion, double the growth they predicted just a few months ago, according to the year-end edition of the SEMI Capital Equipment Consensus Forecast, released on Dec. 3 at SEMICON Japan. Even better news was reflected in the survey’s forecast for next year: Growth that approaches 40%.

“Recent improvements in bookings and global economic indicators are giving equipment companies reason to be more optimistic about the short-term prospects for a robust recovery in the equipment market,” according to Stanley Myers, president and CEO of SEMI.

By equipment segment, sales of test equipment are expected to pace the recovery, with growth of 45.4% this year (nearly tripling earlier estimates) to $3.94 billion. Also showing strong growth is assembly and packaging equipment, up 31.6% to $1.54 billion.

For 2004, equipment makers are expecting growth of 38.6% to $29.6 billion, more than the 24% they predicted in the mid-year survey. All segments are expected to grow by at least 30%, led by test ($5.53 billion 40.36% growth) and assembly and packaging ($2.16 billion, 40.26% growth). Wafer processing equipment, the largest segment in terms of dollar value, is expected to grow 38.6% to $19.8 billion — in June, equipment makers predicted 23% growth — with other front-end equipment growing 32.7% to $2.1 billion.

Looking ahead to 2005, equipment makers anticipate 18.1% growth to $35.0 billion, followed by a contraction of 6.6% in 2006 to $32.68 billion.

“Recovery in the global semiconductor market, coupled with increased capacity utilization, the introduction of new technologies, and improving sales of electronics, support the view that 2004 and 2005 should be strong years for the capital equipment market,” stated Myers.

By region, Korea and Japan are expected to display the strongest growth in 2003, expanding 70% to $2.8 billion and 46% to $5.7 billion. The rest of the world (including China) is expected to grow 15% this year to $3.1 billion, with Europe growing 11% to $2.4 billion. Taiwan and the Americas are expected to decline 16% and 24% in 2003, but will rebound strongly next year.

One trend of particular note is the emergence of Japan as the dominant global market for semiconductors. In SEMI’s mid-year survey (see WaferNews, V10n30, July 28, 2003), equipment makers pegged the North American market at $6.64 billion in 2003, followed by Japan at $5.15 billion, with the two regions staying at 1-2 in the global market in 2004. Now, however, they’re predicting that Japan will surpass North America this year ($5.68 billion to $4.49 billion), and will continue to stay at the top through 2006.

SEMI’s year-end consensus forecast is based on interviews conducted in October and November with North American and European companies that represent a majority of the global sales volume for semiconductor equipment.


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