The worldwide semiconductor market showed signs of recovery in 2016 following a down year in 2015, with key drivers of the growth to be DRAM and NAND flash memory.
According to IHS Markit, the global semiconductor market posted a year-end growth rate of 2 percent with chip growth seen across multiple market segments. Global revenue came in at $352.4 billion, up from $345.6 billion in 2015.
DRAM and NAND flash memory grew more than 30 percent collectively in the second half of 2016. Key to this turnaround was supply constraints and strong demand, coupled with an ASP increase. IHS expects these factors to drive memory revenue into record territory throughout 2017.
Semiconductors used for automotive applications were also a key driver of 2016 growth, with a 9.7 percent expansion by year-end. Chip content in cars continues to climb, with micro components and memory integrated circuits (IC) leading the pack, both experiencing over 10 percent growth in automotive applications.
2016 began with the close of the biggest-ever acquisition in the semiconductor industry. Avago Technologies finalized its $37 billion acquisition of Broadcom Corp. to form Broadcom Limited, which jumped to rank fourth in terms of market share (Avago previously ranked 11th).
Among the top 20 semiconductor suppliers, ON Semiconductor and NVIDIA enjoyed the largest revenue growth, followed closely by MediaTek. ON and MediaTek achieved growth through multiple acquisitions, while NVIDIA saw an enormous demand for its GPU technology as it moves into new markets and applications.
Qualcomm remained the top fabless company in 2016 while MediaTek and NVIDIA moved into the number two and three spots, respectively. The fabless company with the largest market share gain was Cirrus Logic, a major supplier for Apple and Samsung mobile phones. They moved up five spots in 2016, to number 10.
Intel remains in the top spot for semiconductor suppliers, followed by Samsung. Qualcomm comes in at number three, with plans to increase its market share in 2017 with its pending acquisition of NXP.