After posting two years of negative growth, the power transistor market, which historically has driven growth in the $21 billion discrete semiconductor industry, is back on track to grow eight percent in 2014, according to IC Insights. The power transistor market posted the first back-to-back annual sales declines in more than 30 years in 2012 and 2013, dropping eight percent and six percent, respectively. The primary reasons were price erosion due to excess production capacity and economic uncertainty, resulting in purchasing delays by equipment makers, according to analysts.
Global sales of power transistors is expected to reach $12.5 billion, according to IC Insights’ 2014 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes. Power transistors are used to control, convert and condition currents and voltages in a variety of applications ranging from battery-operated products and energy-saving equipment to hybrid and electric vehicles, smart grid applications and renewable power systems.
Power transistor sales are forecast to continue on a growth path, growing nine percent in 2015 to reach $13.7 billion, which tops the market’s annual peak sales of $13.5 billion in 2011. Thanks to easing economic uncertainty and improving end equipment sales, IC Insights expects the market to grow at an annual compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4 percent between 2013 and 2018, reaching $15.7 billion in the final forecast year. This is more than double the three percent CAGR in the previous five years.
The report finds market growth in 2014 will be led by low-voltage MOSFETs (up to 40V), high-voltage MOSFETs (over 400V), and insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) products that are often used in high-current applications and systems operating in rugged conditions, such as in vehicles, lighting equipment, air conditioners and heaters, motor drives, factory equipment, and industrial gear, such as welders.
Low-voltage MOSFET sales are expected to grow nine percent in 2014, reaching nearly $2.8 billion, followed by IGBT power modules (about $2.7 billion) and high-voltage MOSFETS (at about $1.8 billion). Bipolar junction power transistors, which have been around for more than five decades, also expect to see an increase in sales, reaching $854 million in 2014 after dropping 10 percent in 2013.
Power transistors will account for about 59 percent of the projected $26.7 billion total discrete semiconductor market in 2018 versus 56 percent of the $20.7 billion market in 2013, according to IC Insights. Demand will be driven by battery-operated portable products, global efforts to reduce consumption of electricity with new energy-efficient power supplies in equipment, solar and wind power systems, and improvements in plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, said analysts.