Chip revenues falter

Worldwide semiconductor revenue declined in 2012, figures from Gartner have shown.

According to the analyst company revenues hit $299.9 billion in 2012, down 2.6 percent from 2011. It added that the overall semiconductor market decline also had a knock on effect on semiconductor vendors with the top 25 seeing a faster decline at 2.8 percent, than the industry as a whole.

The reason for the industry decline was put down to the disruption of  the computing, wireless, consumer electronics and automotive electronics sectors, which the semiconductor industry relies on, Gartner said.

Steve Ohr, research director at Gartner pointed out that in addition the industrial/medical, wired communications and military/aerospace sectors, “ordinarily less affected by changes in consumer sentiment” suffered severe declines in semiconductor consumption.

Excess inventory levels were also blamed for the profit declines.

Intel recorded a 3.1 percent revenue decline, due to falls in PC shipments. However, it held the top market share position for the 21st year in a row. Intel’s share was 16.4 percent in 2012, down from 16.5 percent in 2011.

Samsung, the second vendor, was held back by weak DRAM growth in 2012, as well as a dilution of the NAND flash market, although its overall revenue increased from smartphone application-specific integrated circuits and application-specific standard products.

Qualcomm’s semiconductor revenue increased 31.8 percent in 2012 to $13.2 billion. The company climbed from sixth place in 2011 to third in 2012 and now trails only Intel and Samsung. Qualcomm was the fastest-growing semiconductor company in the top 25 and continues to benefit from its leading position in wireless semiconductors.

Texas Instruments retained its fourth-place ranking, although Toshiba slipped to fifth place in semiconductor shipments.