IC market’s 2011 growth depends on NAND, oil

by Dr. Phil Garrou, contributing editor

March 18, 2011 – At the recent IMAPS Global Business Council meeting in Fort McDowell AZ, Brian Matas, VP of  market research for IC Insights, reported on several of their forecasts for the semiconductor industry.

The analyst firm expects the IC market to grow at least 10% in 2011, "as long as the price of a barrel of oil averages $100 or less," he said. "If the price of oil surges well past $100 per barrel it could dampen the current  economic recovery."

In their traditional yearly outlook, IC Insights forecast a $344B semiconductor market, $59B in capital spending, and a $46B materials market for 2011.

(Source: IC Insights)

Of special interest was the growth in NAND-based applications. Tablet computers such as the i-PAD, the Samsung Galaxy, and the Blackberry playbook are forecast to grow from 1.3M units to 86M units per year and smartphone sales  forecast to increase from 176M units to 700M units. Thus, NAND demand, in the period 2009-2014, is expected to be significant.

For example, IC Insights forecasts that NAND use in smartphones will increase from 3.6Gb per unit to 22.2Gb per unit. If that’s correct, 20BGb of flash will be needed for cellphones (enhanced and smartphones) alone. Music players such as the i-Pod, tablet computers, and any inroads made by NAND-based solid-state drives will add to that total.

Top: Cell phone shipments by class in millions of units. Bottom: NAND flash memory usage in cell phones, in GB per handset. (Source: IC Insights, Samsung)

Capacity utilization at 300mm facilities was above 96% for all four quarters of 2010. 85% of the world’s 300mm capacity is now concentrated in the hands of 10 companies.

2010 capacity leaders’ shares of total worldwide 300mm capacity. (Source: IC Insights)


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