Among the biggest headlines for 2011 market estimates is from WSTS here, "The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) expects the worldwide market to surpass US$300 billion by end of 2011 for the first time in semiconductor history, yet reflects a less-than-average growth of 1.3% over the previous banner-year 2010."
This is a rather telling data point, actually. That we were able to see growth over 2010, even at a 'less-than-average' level is noteworthy. As WSTS points out, and as we've written about often in this column, this year's challenges have not been few nor far between: the linger US economic situation, the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor disasters in Japan, the on-going EU debt crisis and Euro's instability, and the five-month rain inundation that lead to the devastating flooding in Thailand, coupled with still dour consumer confidence and modest enterprise spending as 'wait-and-see' habits linger.
WSTS does project a doubling in worldwide semiconductor market growth for 2012, pushing up to "a healthier 2.6% US$310 billion in 2012 followed by 5.8% growth to top US$ 328 [sic] billion in 2013." SIA endorses the WSTS data and forecasts.
SEMI's data focus on semiconductor manufacturing equipment which experienced a modest growth of 4.7%, US$41.8 billion, but is expected to see "a moderate decline of 10.8 percent for 2012 for worldwide sales of new semiconductor manufacturing equipment."
According to SEMI, among the gains and declines for 2011 in the equipment market, wafer processing is set to increase by 9.3%, setting a record at US$32.7 billion; assembly and packaging, however, will see a decline by 12.5% as well as test equipment which is expected to drop by 10.3%.
Regional growth is lead by North America and Europe, owing primarily to the major CAPEX plans by Intel and GlobalFoudry. However, looking to 2012, "only south Korea is expective to have positive growth (7.5 percent). In 2013, the market is expected to rebound for all regions except South Korea, due to high growth in 2012."
Of particular interest is the fact that the CAPEX investments thus far have been for equipment and technological upgrades rather than new fabs. With memory capacity expected to rise significantly by 2013, there are questions regarding utilization, limited sourcing (risk management), and ASP effects as capacity gets tighter.