While the global economy in 2019 grew slowly, worldwide semiconductor revenue declined a whopping 12.2% to $418 billion. This year, semiconductor revenue was expected to hit the bottom and start its path toward recovery. Yet, according to new research from International Data Corp. (IDC), the outbreak of COVID-19 will lead to another year of declining revenue for the overall semiconductor market.
IDC forecasts the overall semiconductor market to decline 4.2% due to the supply chain issues, social distancing and stay at home initiatives that are taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Excluding the dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and flash memory markets, semiconductors could decline by 7.2%.
"The strength in demand in March and early April have made computing, connectivity and memory products more resilient,” said Mario Morales, program vice president of semiconductors at IDC. “However, the global shelter in place orders and ongoing shift in buying behavior toward essential goods and services will negatively impact consumer and business spending in the second quarter, and second half of the year.”
Morales added that how quickly the world emerges from the pandemic will determine how much of an impact is felt in the semiconductor market.
“As we reopen across the globe, including our borders, how long will it take us to get back to normal and start rebuilding our lives from shock of the pandemic?" Morales said.
IDC said smartphones will continue to be the largest demand driver but will remain weak overall given the concentration of volumes being 4G. IDC does see 5G smartphone volumes growing this year driving strong semiconductor content. As more 5G smartphones emerge in the $300 price range in China, it should expand the market for 5G and increase how many semiconductors are sold.
The industrial and automotive markets have been particularly hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result, non-memory automotive semiconductors are forecast to decline another 14% and are not expected to return to growth until 2022. Industrial semiconductors are forecast to decline 11.4% in 2020 due to supply chain closures and more. Industrial semiconductors are not expected to recover until 2021.
Learn more about IDC’s findings with its Worldwide Semiconductor Applications Forecaster.