Driven by surging demand and rising prices for DRAM and flash memory, Samsung, the world’s largest memory supplier, saw its total semiconductor sales increase 19 percent in 2Q21 to $20.3 billion, moving it past Intel and into first place to become the world’s largest semiconductor supplier for 2Q21, IC Insights reported.
Samsung was previously ranked as the top semiconductor supplier through much of 2017 and 2018 when the memory market experienced its last cyclical upturn. And the company last enjoyed quarterly sales in excess of $20.0 billion in 2018 during the peak of the previous memory upturn. Demand for memory ICs is forecast to continue this quarter with Samsung’s semiconductor sales projected to rise another 10 percent to $22.3 billion in 3Q21, further widening its lead over Intel.
Also moving up in the 2Q ranking were Nvidia and MediaTek. Nvidia’s 14 percent second quarter increase came on the strength of continued growth of the company’s important data center and gaming segments. Meanwhile, MediaTek’s sales increased 17 percent in 2Q21, continuing an impressive sales upturn driven by strong demand for 5G smartphones and consumer multimedia systems that first ramped up during the Covid-19 virus pandemic in 2020. Memory suppliers SK Hynix and Micron also enjoyed strong quarterly sales increases of 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively, though their positions in the top-10 remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, sales at Intel, TSMC, and Qualcomm grew by a rather unremarkable 3 percent in 2Q21, and Broadcom’s sales increased only 1 percent. Intel’s semiconductor sales were $19.3 billion in 2Q21, far greater than most others but its 3 percent growth rate was far smaller than some of its key rivals. (AMD was ranked just outside the top-10 list with sales that increased 12 percent in 2Q21).
The top-10 semiconductor companies’ also released their sales guidance for 3Q21 and these figures are presented in the IC Insights August Update. Among the top-10 companies, 3Q21 sales expectations range from -3 percent at Intel to +12 percent for Qualcomm. These expectations continue to support IC Insights’ forecast for at least a 23 percent increase in the worldwide semiconductor market this year.