INDUSTRY WATCHER International Data Corp (IDC) predicts that semiconductor industry revenues will hit $315bn this year and rise to $380bn by 2016.
Despite Intel revising down its forecasts for growth, IDC seems to believe the wider semiconductor industry will be boosted by the growing demand for smartphones, tablets and automotive electronics. Thus IDC has forecast that 2012 semiconductor revenues will grow 4.6 per cent to hit $315bn, and that 2013 will see 6.2 per cent growth to $335bn.
Part of IDC's positive forecast is down to chip fabs shifting to newer process nodes, with 20nm class process nodes becoming increasingly viable. However IDC forecasts that the big growth areas up to 2016 will be in the communications industry, with a 97 per cent increase, while the PC and mobile markets will see 3.7 per cent and five per cent growth, respectively.
Mali Venkatesan, research manager for semiconductors at IDC said, "Supply constraints on semiconductor products, such as smartphone applications processors and PC discrete graphics processors, based on the most advanced process technologies are easing as foundries are bringing more capacity online. Also, the semiconductor industry has recovered from the flooding in Thailand that held back the supply of hard drives and PCs. Leading-edge 22nm at Intel is ramping fast now, while foundries and memory companies are getting ready to move to 20nm technology node."
IDC's crystal ball gazers also predict further pain for the DRAM industry, saying it will "continue to show negative growth" as it slowly recovers from the 2011 DRAM disaster that saw Elpida go to the wall.
In the short term, IDC expects Microsoft's Windows 8 to drive chip sales, with the PC operating system set to launch on 26 October. µ