IHS Downgrades Semiconductor Market Outlook
Revenue decline now expected for 2012
September 10, 2012
Weakening economic conditions are causing reduced demand for PCs and related electronic components, prompting IHS to downgrade its forecast for 2012 global semiconductor market chip revenue.
Global semiconductor revenue now is expected to decline slightly for the year, contracting by 0.1 percent compared to an earlier IHS forecast that called for marginal growth of less than 3 percent, according to preliminary results from the IHS iSuppli Application Market Forecast Tool from information and analytics provider IHS.
The slowdown, the first annual decrease for the global semiconductor industry since 2009, represents a major event for the worldwide semiconductor market. Even though electronics markets were very weak throughout all of 2011, IHS never projected revenue to go down for the entire year. But disappointing results in the second quarter along with weak third-quarter expectations driven by poor economic conditions are expected to cause the semiconductor market to retreat this year.
Drawn and quartered
Global semiconductor revenue dropped modestly by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011reflecting normal seasonal patterns.
However, revenue growth in the second quarter amounted to only about 3.0 percent compared to the first quartera tepid level of increase when seen against historical averages. For the third quarter, revenue guidance from key chip suppliers indicates the overall market will also be weak, growing by just slightly more than 6.0 percent sequentially.
As a result of subdued expansions during these two key quarters, the semiconductor market will not generate sufficient growth that otherwise would have prevented the market from contracting for the year.
PCs depress semiconductor growth
PCs and related peripherals are the key market segment pulling down the overall semiconductor business in 2012. The previous IHS forecast predicted that the expansion of the wireless communications sector would be sufficient to propel growth for the overall semiconductor market in 2012. However, the downward pressure created by the worsening deceleration of the PC semiconductor market will outweigh the mid single-digit growth in semiconductor demand forecast expected for wireless communications and the smaller industrial electronics segment.
While the introduction and shipment of exciting new products such as Ultrabooks and other ultrathin PC platforms in the second half of the year will give the PC market a much needed boost, the counterweight of growing economic worries will place strong downward pressure on the overall PC market and limit both consumer and corporate spending in 2012. The weak performance will result in a broad-based revenue decline in 2012 across most semiconductor component categories.
At this point IHS is still forecasting a strong growth rebound of more than 9 percent in 2013, based on expectations of improving economic conditions. Nonetheless, multiple high-impact events still present the risk of a strong downturn in the economy in 2013, which would also pull down the electronics and semiconductor industries.
These potential events range from the Eurozone crisis, to significantly slower growth in China, to the potential federal tax and budget fiscal cliff in the United States, to turmoil in the Middle East.
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