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Prospects in a Troubled Market: Wireless chips and devices continue to provide growth haven despite macro outlook


Just when we had hopes of a soft landing from the recent global recession, there are more worries out in the macro-arena then we need.  While the debate among economists and financial analysts lingers and vacillates as to whether the present 'crisis' is a stall, the start of a double-dip recession, or, as market economists are saying now, a slow-growth market without fundamental changes, the rest of us need to keep our eyes on the market and grow as we can (see this recent video interview from Bloomberg with USB's Golub).

Fortunately, lessons learned from the past downturn have left inventories relatively lean (or at least stable enough, see this recent MarketWatch inventory discussion) and the health check going into the present turbulence is thankfully sound (see also this recent post on the semi value chain health).

The recent job numbers announced by the US intimate that maybe, just maybe, as job losses are waning the US economy might be stronger than the reactionary markets would have us believe, for example this recent review of world market reactions by Bloomberg, and this recent review of US jobs numbers from The New York Times. This is important as we look to gauge consumer and enterprise confidence (and with that, spending) for the remainder of 2011.

While the dust settles for forecasts, there is one semiconductor segment that need not wait, wireless.  Both semiconductor wireless chips and devices continue to grow and provide a certain and safe haven for our industry.  Wireless sensors are among the hottest components expected to grow from the present 2011 US $0.45 billion level to US $2 billion by 2021, as reported here by EEtimes.

Similarly, iSuppli recently forecasted here that in 2011, OEMs will spend significantly more (up 10.7% year-over-year) on semis for use in the full range of wireless devices than they will spend on semis for use in traditional computers (up only 1.2% year-on-year).  Furthermore, iSuppli also forecasts here that shipments of internet-enabled consumer devices will overtake shipments of PCs by 2013, growing from the 2010 level of 161 million units to roughly 503.6 million units by 2013.  These data further support the above growth forecasts for the semi component segment supporting these internet-enabled and wireless devices.  Nvidia's recent, strong quarter-on-quarter growth and continued positive forecasts also underscore the strength of mobile and tablet sales, based on the distribution of growth for their various GPUs, as reviewed here by Electronics Weekly.

So, while we wait for the dust to settle in global market volatility, hopefully over the next few weeks, at least we continue to see that in the semiconductor industry, our fundamentals are holding stable and strong along the previously predicted growth trajectories.  We at MarketWatch will continue to monitor the full range of semi's markets and sectors and provide updates and insights.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Friday, 12 August 2011 12:10 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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