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Semiconductors - statistics & facts

Semiconductors are a crucial element in modern electronics, making up an important component of many commonly used electronic devices including smartphones, tablets, and PCs - essentially all modern devices that many of us have become so highly dependent on in everyday life. As one might expect due to their central importance, the semiconductor industry is extensive and competitive. In 2020, global semiconductor sales exceeded 466 billion U.S. dollars, with the semiconductor industry predicted to grow once again in 2021. Memory semiconductors, graphics processing units (GPUs), and 5G chips led semiconductor market growth in the year.

Global chip shortage 2021

The coronavirus pandemic had an impact on the semiconductor industry, with initial disruption observed in China and Taiwan - dominant chip-producing regions - where factories were forced to shut down when the pandemic first hit. However, although production recovered and semiconductor revenue grew in 2020, surges in demand due to changing consumer habits, together with challenges in chip capacity allocation, resulted in a global chip shortage in 2021. The stockpiling of chips due to geopolitical tensions like those between the U.S. and China, and extreme weather events such as the winter storm that hit Texas, further fueled shortages. This led to some of the major semiconductor companies suggesting shortages may continue into 2022, if not beyond.

Semiconductor companies

Some of the biggest companies within the semiconductor industry include integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) like Intel, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology. U.S. company Intel has held the greatest share of the global semiconductor market for each of the last two years, generating more than 72 billion U.S. dollars in semiconductor revenue in 2020. Samsung, who ranked second among vendors, is tipped by some analysts to recapture first place in 2021: dominant in the memory segment of the market, the company is expected to benefit from NAND flash and DRAM shortages that will cause prices, and thus revenues, to rise. Other notable firms within the global semiconductor industry include fabless companies like Qualcomm and Nvidia, the likes of which work closely with foundries such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) - the world's largest foundry - who manufacture chips in their fabrication plants (fabs).

Semiconductor market opportunities

Smartphones represent an important market for the semiconductor industry, especially as these devices become more advanced and able to support technologies such as XR, 5G, and AI. Servers and data centers will become an even more important opportunity, with semiconductor innovation required to support cloud data centers and the rise in edge computing, supported by the development of AI chips. Industrial and automotive applications are also expected to experience increased demand: as manufacturing facilities and vehicles become smarter and ever more connected, the requirement for more advanced semiconductor technology to fulfill these tasks grows. However, concerns around techno-nationalism and further supply chain disruption may limit the extent to which the industry can seize these opportunities.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Semiconductors" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Companies

Foundries

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 46 most important statistics relating to "Semiconductors".

Semiconductors

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Semiconductors - statistics & facts

Semiconductors are a crucial element in modern electronics, making up an important component of many commonly used electronic devices including smartphones, tablets, and PCs - essentially all modern devices that many of us have become so highly dependent on in everyday life. As one might expect due to their central importance, the semiconductor industry is extensive and competitive. In 2020, global semiconductor sales exceeded 466 billion U.S. dollars, with the semiconductor industry predicted to grow once again in 2021. Memory semiconductors, graphics processing units (GPUs), and 5G chips led semiconductor market growth in the year.

Global chip shortage 2021

The coronavirus pandemic had an impact on the semiconductor industry, with initial disruption observed in China and Taiwan - dominant chip-producing regions - where factories were forced to shut down when the pandemic first hit. However, although production recovered and semiconductor revenue grew in 2020, surges in demand due to changing consumer habits, together with challenges in chip capacity allocation, resulted in a global chip shortage in 2021. The stockpiling of chips due to geopolitical tensions like those between the U.S. and China, and extreme weather events such as the winter storm that hit Texas, further fueled shortages. This led to some of the major semiconductor companies suggesting shortages may continue into 2022, if not beyond.

Semiconductor companies

Some of the biggest companies within the semiconductor industry include integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) like Intel, Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology. U.S. company Intel has held the greatest share of the global semiconductor market for each of the last two years, generating more than 72 billion U.S. dollars in semiconductor revenue in 2020. Samsung, who ranked second among vendors, is tipped by some analysts to recapture first place in 2021: dominant in the memory segment of the market, the company is expected to benefit from NAND flash and DRAM shortages that will cause prices, and thus revenues, to rise. Other notable firms within the global semiconductor industry include fabless companies like Qualcomm and Nvidia, the likes of which work closely with foundries such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) - the world's largest foundry - who manufacture chips in their fabrication plants (fabs).

Semiconductor market opportunities

Smartphones represent an important market for the semiconductor industry, especially as these devices become more advanced and able to support technologies such as XR, 5G, and AI. Servers and data centers will become an even more important opportunity, with semiconductor innovation required to support cloud data centers and the rise in edge computing, supported by the development of AI chips. Industrial and automotive applications are also expected to experience increased demand: as manufacturing facilities and vehicles become smarter and ever more connected, the requirement for more advanced semiconductor technology to fulfill these tasks grows. However, concerns around techno-nationalism and further supply chain disruption may limit the extent to which the industry can seize these opportunities.

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