Semiconductor unit shipments, including integrated circuits and opto-sensor-discrete, or O-S-D, devices, are forecast to exceed one trillion units for the first time in 2018, according to IC Insights’ 2016 edition of The McClean Report—A Complete Analysis and Forecast of the Integrated Circuit Industry. The milestone is expected to be the new normal for semiconductor shipments starting in 2018.
IC Insights forecasts that semiconductor unit shipments will reach 1,022.5 billion devices in 2018, up from 32.6 billion in 1978, which translates into an average annual growth of nine percent over the 40-year period.
Analysis finds the largest annual increase in semiconductor unit growth since 1978 was 34 percent in 1984, and the biggest decline of 19 percent occurred in 2001 following the dot-com bust. The global financial meltdown followed by the recession in 2008 and 2009 resulted in the first time that semiconductor shipments experienced consecutive years of declines, according to IC Insights. Semiconductor unit growth returned to growth in 2015, increasing 25 percent, the second-highest growth rate since 1978.
IC Insights’ historical data also reveals that the percentage split of IC and O-S-D devices has remained steady despite advances in integrated circuit technology and functional integration to reduce chip count in systems. As shown, in 1980 O-S-D devices accounted for 78 percent of total semiconductor units and ICs represented 22 percent. In 2015, O-S-D devices accounted for 72 percent of total semiconductor units, compared to 28 percent for ICs.
Looking ahead, analysts expect semiconductors that are used as the building-block components for smart phones, automotive electronics systems, and other systems involved with the build-out of the Internet of Things (IoT) will experience the largest unit growth rates in 2016 as shown in the table below.
IC Insights plans to release the 2016 O-S-D Report—A Market Analysis and Forecast for the Optoelectronics, Sensors/Actuators, and Discretes in the near future.