DECEMBER 16--The worldwide semiconductor industry returned to positive growth in 2002, with revenue totaling $155.4 billion in 2002, a 1.4% increase from 2001, according to preliminary statistics by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc. (San Jose, CA;www.gartner.com/semiconductor-mkt). In 2001, worldwide semiconductor revenue declined 32%.
"Weak end markets continue to depress the semiconductor industry, leaving scant opportunities for growth," said Richard Gordon, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's worldwide semiconductor group. "However, some vendors with a particular product or applications focus did manage to impress in 2002; the most notable of these is Samsung, which is now second only to Intel in total semiconductor sales worldwide."
Intel remained the No. 1 vendor based on worldwide semiconductor revenue in 2002, despite a 3.1% revenue decline. It was the eleventh straight year that Intel has held the top-ranked position. Samsung's growth was attributed to strong DRAM and flash memory sales.
While the semiconductor industry posted a 1.4% growth in 2002, the industry would have suffered another year of revenue decline if not for the DRAM segment. If DRAM revenue is excluded from the total semiconductor market, worldwide semiconductor sales revenue would actually decline by 2%.
Gartner analysts said during industry downtimes such as these, only those vendors with solid strategies and business focus can hope to survive and to be able to invest in next-generation technology and capacity. Sales performance in 2002 will provide guidance about which vendors are likely to be the leaders during the next semiconductor industry cycle.
"Intel continues to dominate the microprocessor and NOR flash markets today, while using its ability to generate cash to invest in technologies, products and manufacturing capacity to target the mobile, portable and wireless markets of tomorrow," Gordon said. "Samsung is the complete memory vendor, with an extensive range of products spanning DRAM, SRAM and flash memory, and a brand that allows it to command premium pricing in the marketplace."
"Infineon continues to gain market share in DRAMs and has lined up an impressive array of partners in the trench capacitor camp. Its leadership in 300-mm manufacturing demonstrates a commitment to remain a leading DRAM player."