WSTS forecast: 2010 even better, no more whipsaw updates

December 1, 2010 – The latest semiannual forecast update from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) pegs 2010 as even better than in its midyear rewrite, but without the drastic revisions going forward.

The WSTS now pegs 2010 chip sales growing almost 33% to $300.4B; that’s slightly more (~3%, or about $9.5B) than the 28.6%/$291B it anticipated in its June forecast. After that, the forecasts look pretty much the same: 2.5% to $313.8B in 2011 (vs. 5.6%/307.4B), and 5.6% to $331.5B in 2012 (vs. 4.2%/$320.2B). CAGR over the period 2009-2012 is 13.6%, vs. 12.3% in the spring forecast.

"The new forecast presents a materially more optimistic estimate for the year 2010," said the WSTS in a statement.

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Where’s the higher growth in 2010 coming from? Memory has had a bang-up year (WSTS doesn’t distinguish between DRAM and NAND), and the WSTS’ new forecast has memory sales about 8% higher than it expected in June ($70.5B vs. $65B), and growth of nearly 58% instead of 45%. Also on the upside are discretes, with sales now revised up about 7% from the WSTS spring forecast to almost $20B and 40% growth (the spring forecast had $18.4M and 30% growth). Optoelectronics and sensors each got a 4% hike from the spring forecasts, to $22.8B/34% and $6.8B/43%, respectively (vs. $22.0B/29% and $6.5B/38%).

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WSTS forecast summary, Autumn 2010

From a regional standpoint, the improvements are almost all in the Americas, which the WSTS has ratcheted up to $54B and >40 growth — vs. just $48B and 25% growth in its springtime forecast. Demand in Japan is slightly ahead of the previous outlook’s pace (>21% vs. 17%), while Asia-Pacific (35% vs. 33%) is largely unchanged,

Looking ahead into 2011, all the momentum in memory evaporates; WSTS sees a -6.1% decline now to $66B, vs. its springtime calculation of basically flat (0.7%) growth. Look for best growth in 2011 from MPUs (9.7% to $66B), opto (9.6% to $25B), and sensors (9.2% to $7.4B). And in 2012 the WSTS sees MPUs again leading the way (7.9% to $72B), followed by opto (7.3% to $27B) and sensors (6.8% to $7.9B), with memory again trailing the pack at 2.7% growth ($68B).



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