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Global power semiconductor market growth cut to 5.0 percent in 2012

December 19, 2011 // Paul Buckley

Global power semiconductor market growth cut to 5.0 percent in 2012

The global power semiconductor market will grow by 5.0% in 2012 to $32 billion, according to market analyst, IMS Research, which is cutting the company's previous forecast of more than 8% due to global economic uncertainties and inventory being flushed from the supply chain. The market, which grew by 37% in 2010, is forecast to return to double-digit growth in 2013.

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The latest findings from IMS Research's Power Management Quarterly Market Watch revealed that the power semiconductor market (including power discretes, power modules and power ICs) grew by 3.7% in 2011, following its strong recovery in 2010. Whilst demand remained relatively robust in the first half of 2011, inventory corrections and major economic uncertainties surrounding the Euro-zone crisis resulted in declines in Q3'11 and Q4'11.

IMS Research's Senior Research Director, Ash Sharma commented: The effects of the economic uncertainty and reduced spending by consumers and businesses on the power semiconductor market are predicted to continue long in 2012 and industry revenues in 1H12 will be flat year-on-year. However, the outlook varies considerably for each product and sector and some areas of the power component market will still enjoy double-digit growth.

Power IC market growth was almost 3% lower than power discrete growth in 2011, though this trend is set to be reversed in 2012, with slightly higher growth predicted for power ICs. The power module market continued to outperform both power discretes and power ICs, showing sustained high double-digit growth in 2011, which is projected to remain in for the next four years, driven by demand for IGBT modules.

Although factors such as inventory correction resulted in a slowdown in demand in 2H11, particularly for power discretes and power ICs, growth projections for 2012 are more directly linked to end-equipment demand. This demand, however, also differs largely by application.

Senior Analyst and report co-author, Ryan Sanderson, commented: Strong demand for smart phones is projected to continue throughout 2012, despite a slowdown in 4Q11, driving the market for power ICs, in particular battery management ICs. Smart phone charger demand is also forecast to help drive growth of the AC-DC regulator market, switching controllers and MOSFETs. Automotive demand remained strong throughout 2011 and the increasing content of electronics within vehicles is projected to drive growth in all power semiconductor markets.

The report also found that overall market growth will be limited by lower demand in certain applications. Consumer spending slowed in 2H11 and is predicted to remain restrained throughout 1H12 at least with slower sales of demand for many consumer applications such as TVs, portable and wired gaming and consumer appliances. Shipments of computing products are predicted to be heavily impacted in 1H12 by the floods in Thailand and the availability of hard drives. Power supply demand for all of these applications is also predicted to be reduced as a result.

Despite a slight sequential decline in market share, Infineon Technologies remained the largest supplier of power semiconductors in 3Q11 with 9.8% of the total market, largely due to its strength in the power discrete and module market. Texas Instruments completed its acquisition of National Semiconductor in late 3Q11. Therefore, although it was ranked the fourth largest supplier for the first 3 quarters of 2011, it is likely to move to third position, ahead of STMicroelectronics, in 4Q11, when both companies revenues are combined.

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