January 24, 2013 - 11:52 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Samsung Electronics and Apple both dominated semiconductor demand in 2012, although Samsung overtook Apple as the top worldwide semiconductor customer, Gartner said, according to DigiTimes.
Samsung and Apple together consumed US$45.3 billion of semiconductors in 2012, representing an increase of US$7.9 billion from 2011, and 15% of total semiconductor demand, Gartner said. The total semiconductor market decreased by 3% overall in 2012.
"Although Samsung and Apple continue to go from strength to strength, other leading electronic equipment makers fared less well, and six of the top 10 reduced their demand in 2012," said Masatsune Yamaji, principal research analyst at Gartner. "In addition to a weak macroeconomic situation, a dramatic change in consumer demand contributed to a reduction in semiconductor demand in 2012."
"The PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, but desktop and mobile PCs did not sell well, as consumers' interest shifted to new mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets," Yamaji continued. "This shift caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a tablet is far less than that of a PC."
The top 10 companies demanded US$106.4 billion of semiconductors in 2012, accounting for 36% of total semiconductor vendors' worldwide revenues of US$297.6 billion, Gartner indicated. Of the top 10 companies, Nokia's semiconductor demand contracted most.
"While the growth of new mobile computing devices, notably smartphones and tablets, has not fully compensated for the drop in the semiconductor demand from the PC market, the data center and communications infrastructure market will keep driving semiconductor demand," Yamaji noted. "The limited computing and storage resources of new mobile computing devices will be compensated for by cloud computing services with light application software."
"Price competition between smartphone and tablet vendors was severe in 2012, as hardware differentiation was very difficult to achieve," Yamaji observed. "Innovations in device hardware will soon be copied by competitors, as semiconductor vendors will soon provide commercial SoC (system-on-chip), software and reference designs to hardware vendors needing to catch up with innovative market leaders. Semiconductor vendors must aid, or at least monitor, the hardware innovations of the market leaders."