Integrated device manufacturer (IDM) semiconductor supplier growth could outpace fabless semiconductor company sales for only the second time on record, according to IC Insights. The upcoming 2016 McClean Report forecasts that sales of the top 10 IDMs will be flat, while sales for the top 10 fabless companies will slip into negative territory this year.
The only time that IDM semiconductor sales growth (35%) outpaced fabless semiconductor company sales growth (29%) was in 2010, according to IC Insights. Fabless suppliers didn’t receive “a boost from surging DRAM and NAND flash memory markets in 2010, which grew 75 percent and 44 percent, respectively,” due to very few of them participating in the memory market, said the market researcher.
In comparison, sales for the top 10 fabless semiconductor suppliers are forecast to fall by five percent. However, IC Insights analysts said “that essentially all of the decline expected for the top-10 fabless suppliers in 2015 could be attributed to the forecasted decline in Qualcomm/CSR’s sales this year.”
IC Insights attributes the sharp sales drop in 2015 to Samsung’s increasing use of its own Exynos application processor in its smartphones instead of previously sourced applications processors from Qualcomm.
Application processor sales to fabless/system house Apple from pure-play foundry TSMC are included in the fabless company sales ranking under Apple/TSMC, while sales of application processors to Apple from IDM-foundry Samsung are included as part of Samsung’s logic IC sales, said the market researcher.
IC Insights “combined the merged, or soon to be merged, companies’ 2014 and 2015 semiconductor sales regardless of when the merger occurred” in order to make direct comparisons.