Global GDP, smartphones bode good tidings for semiconductor growth

November 26, 2012 – Despite lingering clouds obscuring near-term visibility for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, signs of macroeconomic life bode well for sales of electronics devices, and by association the chip technologies that power them.

Global GDP growth is expected to come in around 2.6% in 2012, very near the threshold of what defines a global recession and well below the long-term average of 3.5%, notes IC Insights. For 2013, though, global GDP is seen climbing to 3.2%, as there are signs of life in the US (stronger housing demand and hiring) and China (accelerating factory output and retail sales).

In step with the slower GDP, sales of electronic systems in 2012 are seen growing at just 3%, half their pace in 2011 and half their long-term average. Only communications (thanks to smartphones) will see decent growth this year, as it ascends to the top of the IC end-app food chain. But that same improving outlook for global GDP should pull electronic systems sales back up to 5% in 2013. Again, thank smartphones, whose shipments will surge 55% this year to 750 million units, and account for 49% of all cellphones in the year’s final (preholiday) quarter.

And stronger electronic systems sales bodes well for the components supplied within. IC Insights pegs the IC market growing 6% in 2013, and improving to a five-year CAGR of 7.4% for the period 2011-2016, which is more than double the 3.3% CAGR in the previous five-year period (2006-2011).

Worldwide electronic system producton by system type, in US $B. (Source: IC Insights)


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