Even though the chip market is poised for a cool-down, nine chipmakers are expected to outgrow the average market increase of 16 percent in 2018.
The expected top 15 worldwide semiconductor sales ranking for 2018 includes seven suppliers headquartered in the U.S., three in Europe, two each in South Korea and Japan, and one in Taiwan, according to IC Insights. After announcing in early April 2018 that it had successfully moved its headquarters location from Singapore to the U.S., IC Insights now classifies Broadcom as a U.S. company.
Collectively, the top 15 semiconductor companies’ sales are forecast to jump by 18 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, two points higher than the expected total worldwide semiconductor industry 2018/2017 increase of 16 percent, IC Insights said. The three largest memory suppliers—Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron—are each forecast to register greater than 25 percent year-over-year growth in 2018 with SK Hynix expected to log the highest growth among the top 15 companies with a 41 percent surge in sales this year.
However, IC Insights points out, year-over-year IC market growth dropped to 14 percent in 3Q. Moreover, with the softening of the memory market, IC Insights projects that year-over-year IC market growth in 4Q will be only 6 percent.
Third quarter sequential growth confirms the slowing year-over-year trend, the firm added. In 2017, 3Q/2Q IC market growth was 11 percent. This year, 3Q/2Q growth slowed to a 6 percent increase (the same rate as the long term average). The softening memory market has started to become a “headwind” on total IC market growth.
"It is interesting that in 2017, the 3Q/2Q memory market growth rate was a very strong 18 percent. In contrast, the 3Q/2Q memory market increase in 2018 was 8 percent, less than half of last year’s rate," IC Insights reported.
The research firm's top-15 ranking includes one pure-play foundry (TSMC) and three fabless companies. If TSMC were excluded from the top-15 ranking, Taiwan-based MediaTek would have been ranked in the 15th position with forecasted 2018 sales of $7.9 billion, up only 1 percent from 2017.
All of the top-15 companies are expected to have sales of at least $8.0 billion in this year, two companies more than in 2017. Nine of the top-15 companies are forecast to register double-digit year-over-year growth in 2018. Moreover, five companies are expected to have ≥20 percent growth, including four of the big memory suppliers (Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron, and Western Digital/SanDisk) as well as Nvidia.
As shown, IC Insights expects the first through seventh rankings to remain unchanged in 2018 as compared to 2017. The largest move upward in the ranking is forecast to come from Western Digital/San Disk, which is expected to move up three spots to the 12th position. In contrast, NXP is expected to fall two places to 13th with a sales increase of only 1 percent this year. However, the worst-performing company in the ranking is forecast to be Qualcomm with a semiconductor revenue decline of 3 percent this year, the only top-15 company expected to register a drop in sales.
Intel was the number one ranked semiconductor supplier in 1Q17 but lost its lead spot to Samsung in 2Q17. It also fell from the top spot in the full-year 2017 ranking, a position it had held since 1993. With the strong surge in the DRAM and NAND flash markets over the past year, Samsung is forecast to go from having 7 percent more total semiconductor sales than Intel in 2017 to having 19 percent more semiconductor sales than Intel in 2018.
Memory devices are forecast to represent 84 percent of Samsung’s semiconductor sales in 2018, up three points from 81 percent in 2017 and up 10 points from 71 percent just two years earlier in 2016. Moreover, the company’s non-memory sales in 2018 are expected to be only $13.3 billion, up only 6 percent from 2017’s non-memory sales level of $12.5 billion. In contrast, Samsung’s memory sales are forecast to be up 31 percent this year and reach $70.0 billion. For more information see www.icinsights.com.