Power management semiconductors will finish the second quarter with their strongest performance in two years, kicking off a projected high-flying second half as the industry recovers from weakness, according to a Power Management market tracker report from information and analytics provider IHS.
Revenue for power management chips will reach a projected $7.56 billion for the three-month period ending in June, up 6.6 percent from $7.09 billion in the first quarter. The second-quarter uptick will be the highest since at least the beginning of 2011, as none of the previous nine quarters had growth exceeding 3.8 percent.
The first increase to occur after six months of contraction, the second quarter will be the start of a productive period for the industry. Growth in the third quarter is forecast to be even higher, while a normally negative fourth quarter will be in positive territory this year.
The anticipated resurgence marks a welcome turnaround from a dismal 2012. Last year the industry was dragged down by a weak data processing segment governing PCs, overshadowed by wireless devices. Because fewer PCs were sold, PC makers cut back on computer production, in turn reducing the number of power management semiconductors that the industry could ship to the segment for revenue.
This year, softness will continue to be present in the data processing as well as consumer segments where power management chips are used. However, strength will come from the wireless and industrial markets, with the vigorous activity expected in those areas powerful enough to sustain the entire second half in growth, IHS believes.
In the wireless area, for instance, power management semiconductors are critical in smartphones and tablets, where device power needs to be maximized for optimal use. For industrial applications, power management is important to ensure efficient energy use in complex processes and machinery. In particular, growth will be strong this year in the industrial applications for building and home control, along with lighting in automotive.
Revenue for power management semiconductors will be up 4.8 percent by year-end from 2012, a major improvement from last year's 8.2 percent decline.
The market for power management semiconductors includes products related specifically to the conversion, distribution and management of power in electronic systems. Among these products are power management integrated circuits like voltage regulators and references, as well as power interface ICs and application-specific power management ICs. Other important power management products are power discretes, such as power transistors greater than 1 watt; rectifiers greater than 0.5 amperes; and thyristors.
The semiconductors are used in a wide range of industries, including energy generation and distribution, military and civil aerospace, home audio system components, medical electronics and automotive applications. In the consumer segment most familiar to people, common devices that make use of power management chips include digital set-top boxes, liquid-crystal display (LCD) and plasma televisions, game consoles, flat-panel monitors and PC servers, in addition to mobile handsets, tablets, and computers.
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