Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the global economy, worldwide semiconductor revenue grew to $442 billion in 2020, an increase of 5.4 per cent compared to 2019, said a new report from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The semiconductor market will reach $476 billion in 2021, a 7.7 per cent year-over-year growth rate as the various Covid-19 vaccines are disseminated and economies begin to open and gradually recover, according to a forecast by IDC.
"The nature of the recovery will depend upon how quickly government stimulus plans stabilize the global macroeconomy and consumer confidence improves as vaccinations roll out around the world," said Mario Morales, Program Vice President, Enabling Technologies and Semiconductors at IDC, in a statement.
"There are specific markets that remain on an upward trajectory and are essential to the recovery this year, including 5G, cloud, intelligent edge, and the dedicated foundry industry."
Smartphones were the second largest demand driver for 2020 with the growth in 5G phones accelerating significantly.
Healthy competition for lower cost 5G SoCs (system on chips)resulted in 5G phones being sold at a wide variety of price ranges to reach a broader set of consumers.
"Mobile phone shipments fell by more than five percent in 2020, but mobile phone semiconductor revenues will have grown by about 3 per cent due to a shift to higher ASP (average selling price) 5G semiconductors, more memory, sensors, and RF support for more spectrum bands," said Phil Solis, Research Director for Connectivity and Smartphone Semiconductors.
"2021 will be an especially important year for semiconductor vendors as 5G phones capture 30 per cent of all mobile phone shipments while semiconductors for 5G phones will capture nearly 54 per cent of the revenue in the segment."
IDC forecasts mobile phone semiconductor revenues will grow by 11.4 per cent in 2021 to $128 billion.
The automotive and industrial semiconductor markets were significantly impacted by Covid-19, which created sales disruption and manufacturing disruptions, while trade policy impacted supply chains throughout the year, said the report.