Market vision

The North American semiconductor equipment industry posted a book-to-bill ratio of 0.69 for July 1998, as reported by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (Mountain View, CA). The 0.69 means that $69 in semiconductor orders was received for every $100 of products shipped. Three-month average shipments decreased in July 1998 to $1.1 billion, which was 11% below the June 1998 level, and 15% below the July 1997 level.

Market vision

GEORGE KOTELLY EXECUTIVE EDITOR

georgek@pennwell.com

The North American semiconductor equipment industry posted a book-to-bill ratio of 0.69 for July 1998, as reported by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (Mountain View, CA). The 0.69 means that $69 in semiconductor orders was received for every $100 of products shipped. Three-month average shipments decreased in July 1998 to $1.1 billion, which was 11% below the June 1998 level, and 15% below the July 1997 level.

In its study DSPs: North American Markets, Competing Architectures, & Forecasts, Allied Business Intelligence Inc. (Oyster Bay, NY) forecasts that the digital signal-processing market will show aggressive growth from $4.3 billion in 1998 to $8.5 billion by 2002, far exceeding the general semiconductor market. According to the report, Texas Instruments is the DSP market leader with a 45% share.

In its CMOS Image Sensors forecast report, Cahners In-Stat Group (Scottsdale, AZ), a market research and information company, projects that approximately 60 million CMOS image sensors will ship annually by the year 2002, resulting in component revenues of more than $460 million. According to Mark Kirstein, report writer and director of the computer and convergence group, "CMOS image sensor technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of digital imaging, enabling key new opportunities."

US factory sales of electronics equipment, components, and related products totaled $241.5 billion for the first half of 1998, representing a 9.6% increase over 1997 figures for the same period, according to the Electronic Industries Alliance (Arlington, VA). In vision-related product sectors: computers & peripherals hit $49.4 billion, up 21%; electromedical equipment climbed 8% to $6.1 billion; and industrial electronics rose 1% to $18.6 billion.

According to DisplaySearch, an Austin, TX-based market research firm, 44 of the available 300+ LCD monitors are now priced under $1200, and 31 LCD monitors are priced under $1000, as costs drop due to lower module prices resulting from excess thin-film transistor technology capacity.

Stanford Resources Inc. (San Jose, CA), a display market-research firm, predicts that the worldwide LCD market will total 1.85 billion units by the end of 1998, for a value of $12.2 billion By 2004, the LCD market will climb to 2.27 billion units valued at $21.8 billion.

InfoTrends Research Group (Boston, MA) predicts that European digital camera unit shipments will climb at an annual rate of approximately 45% through 2002, at a value of US$1.7 billion. Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are expected to dominate this market in 1998 with projected combined sales of over 75% of total European shipments. For high-end professional digital camera sales in 1998, Leaf, Kodak, and Megavision control the area-array market sector.

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