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Analyst: chip market to grow 2.3 percent in 2011

December 08, 2010 // Peter Clarke

Analyst: chip market to grow 2.3 percent in 2011

The global semiconductor chip market will grow 2.3 percent in 2011, according to industry analyst Mike Cowan and the latest run of his linear regression analysis statistical model.

This puts Cowan at the low end of the range of predictions that come from about a dozen market watchers, analysts, businesses and organizations that forecast the semiconductor industry. The spread of predictions ranges from Cowan's 2.3 percent to "double-digit" percentage growth expected by Malcolm Penn founder and principal analyst with Future Horizons (Sevenoaks, England).

The latest run of Cowan's LRA model, which uses historical data from World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization, predicts that November's chips sales will be found to be $25.566 billion, which translates to a three-month average of $26.366 billion. It also yields a fourth quarter 2010 sales figure of $77.680 billion, down sequentially by 1.6 percent and up 15.4 percent on 4Q09. This in turn produces a slightly reduced 2010 global chip sales figure of $301.305 billion, a rise of 33.1 percent.

Extending the model into 2011 produces sequential quarterly sales figures for 2011 of $75.229 billion, $77.963 billion, $85.554 billion and $69.363 billion with sequential growth rates of -3.2 percent, 3.6 percent, 9.7 percent and -18.9 percent, respectively.

While the first three quarters of 2011 will show growth of a few percent compared with the same quarters in 2010, the fourth quarter is set to see a collapse in sales that will drag the annual total down to $308.108 billion, and growth to 2.3 percent, according to Cowan. A sequential fall of 18.9 percent in the value of the global chip market in the fourth quarter would be unusual. The market is typically flat in Q4 but did fall 24.2 percent in 4Q08 compared with 3Q08 as the global economic crisis took hold.

The LRA model is statistical and is not based on predictions or guesses about underlying behaviors, although many forecasters are foreseeing an oversupply of chips to happen sometime in 2011 and adversely affect average selling prices, and therefore the value of the chip market.

"I should point out that these first pass 2011 forecast numbers will "evolve" (each month) as 2010 wraps up and as 2011 plays out," Cowan said.

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