Fueled by strong sales growth in its core chip businesses—and boosted by a major acquisition—leading semiconductor supplier Intel Corp. in 2011 attained its highest annual market share in more than 10 years, according to the IHS iSuppli Competitive Landscape Tool from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
Intel in 2011 increased its overall semiconductor market share to 15.6 percent, up 2.5 percentage points from 13.1 percent in 2010, according to the final IHS semiconductor estimate for the year. This represents the highest market share for Intel going back to at least 2001, when it reached 14.9 percent. Over the last five years, Intel’s share of the market ranged from 11.9 percent to 13.9 percent.
“Intel in 2011 captured the headlines with its major surge in growth,” said Dale Ford, head of electronics and semiconductor research for IHS. “The company’s rise was spurred by soaring demand for its PC-oriented microprocessors, and for its NAND flash memory used in consumer and wireless products. Intel’s revenue also was boosted by its acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business unit. The company’s strong rise helped it to stave off the rising challenge mounted by No. 2 semiconductor supplier Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which had been whittling away at Intel’s lead in recent years.”
The table below presents the final 2011 semiconductor market share ranking from the IHS.
Intel in the Lead
Intel in 2011 saw its revenue jump by 20.6 percent. This outpaced every other semiconductor supplier in the Top 20 with the exception of Qualcomm Inc. and ON Semiconductor, both of which also saw exceptionally high levels of growth based on a combination of organic expansion and key acquisitions. Intel increased its share of the market by 2.5 percentage points, from 13.1 percent in 2010 to 15.6 percent in 2011, the largest rise in market share the company has seen in well over 10 years.
Until 2011, Samsung had been steadily closing the gap with Intel, with its share of global semiconductor market revenue rising from 3.9 percent in 2000 to 9.2 percent in 2010. Samsung’s revenue growth of 0.6 percent in 2011 left its overall market share unchanged at 9.2 percent in 2011.
Semiconductor Stasis in 2011
Based on the completed results of IHS iSuppli’s 2011 market share research, global semiconductor market growth for 2011 has been measured at 1.3 percent. This is down slightly from the IHS preliminary estimate of 1.9 percent growth, which was publicly released on December 1.
A weak sequential growth of negative 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 pulled the full-year results down. However, the market was still able to escape with overall positive growth, as consistently projected by IHS iSuppli in its forecasts throughout the year.
No Qualms for Qualcomm in 2011
Among the other Top 10 semiconductor suppliers, Qualcomm captured the headlines with its 41.6 percent growth, propelling it up the rankings to No. 6 in 2011, up from No. 9 in 2010. This massive increase gave Qualcomm a 3.3 percent market share in 2011, putting it close behind No. 5 Renesas Electronics Corp., which had a 3.4 percent share.
Qualcomm had enjoyed an unbroken period of growth in its overall market share stretching back to at least 2000 until it saw its share dip during 2010, when the overall market experienced a strong rebound following the collapse of 2009.
Because Qualcomm had successfully limited its revenue decline in 2009, it did not experience the same strong rebound in 2010 as other companies. However, Qualcomm saw its revenue and share of the market surge in 2011, taking it ever higher in the semiconductor rankings as the world’s largest fabless semiconductor supplier.
Among the Top 25 suppliers, ON Semiconductor also saw a major boost in its market position by jumping eight positions to No. 18, up from No. 26. This was largest climb in the rankings by a Top 25 company.
Also making great strides was Nichia Corp., whose success as a supplier of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) resulted in a growth increase of 34.1 percent and a move up to No. 23.
Illustrating the weakness of the semiconductor market in 2011, only about half of the 302 chip suppliers—or 52.6 percent—tracked by IHS increased their revenue in 2011 and achieved growth.
Overall, companies headquartered in the Americas saw the greatest improvement to their semiconductor revenues among all regions, at 7.5 percent growth. In comparison, revenue fell 7.2 percent as a whole for Japanese firms, which suffered from the impact of the 2011 earthquake.