Communications, automotive, IC markets in pole position through 2016

October 25, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Two single markets will out-pace the total semiconductor market in the years through 2016, says market research company IC Insights: Automotive and communication chips will be in much higher demand than all other market segments. Computer devices, once the driving force behind semiconductors, drops back on the second-to-last place.

According to a recent IC Insight overview, the market for communications chips will grow almost at the speed of radio waves - at 14.1 % CAGR for the next four years. By 2016, this market will have reached a total value of $160 billion, almost twice as big (94%) as in 2011.

Albeit much smaller - at a total volume of $28 billion - the automotive chip market is driven by the trend to "electronize" the vehciles. Largest market is Europe accounting for 37% of the total demand in 2012. For the years to come, Asian car manufacturers are on the outside lane and will almost catch up to the European market by 2016. IC Insights predicts an average growth rate of 9 % for the automotive chip market.

Industrial and medical IC markets benefit from an ageing population and the demand for healthcare and medical applications they are creating. With a particularly high share of analog chips (45%) this market is poised to grow by 5 % annually through 2016.

The computer chip market is forecast to represent 34% of the total IC market in 2016, down from almost 42% in 2011. A 12% decline in computer memory devices market is expected to cause a dip of 9% for the entire computer IC market in 2012. Nevertheless, IC Insight researchers predict an average growth rate of 3.1 percent for this market through 2016.

The growth in the consumer chips market will be the slowest of all end-use categories. With its CAGR of 1.9%, its growth is significantly slower than the total market average of 7.4%, driven down by weakness in Japan.