Worldwide industrial semiconductor revenues grew by 18 percent year over year in 2014, according to IHS Inc., the leading global source of critical information and insight. Global industrial semiconductor revenue in 2014 totaled $40.4 billion, up from $34.3 billion in 2013. The year-over-year increase follows solid growth of 13 percent in 2013, a decline of 3 percent in 2012 and 12 percent growth in 2011. The strong performance achieved in 2014 represents the highest annual growth rate, since the 36 percent boom in 2010.

“Gradual acceleration in the global economy, led by the United States and China, continued to lift industrial equipment demand,” said Robbie Galoso, principal analyst, IHS Technology. “Broad-based growth in industrial electronics gained momentum in the semiconductor industry, especially in products used for factory automation control, commercial avionics, LED lighting, digital internet-protocol cameras, climate control, renewable energy, traction, wireless application-specific testers and oil and gas exploration equipment.”

Moderate growth expected this year

Based on the latest information from the IHS Industrial Semiconductors service, the industrial electronics category is expected to continue its strong momentum, as the top application-revenue driver in the semiconductor industry, through 2019. Industrial semiconductor revenue growth is expected to increase 7 percent in 2015, with continued growth forecast for many segments; however, more moderate growth is expected this year, due mainly to slowed growth in memory, logic and analog products used in building and home control, military and civil aerospace, and test and measurement. With improving financial results in the long term, the industrial semiconductor market is expected to be on track to reach 6 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2014 and 2019.

2014 top 10 company ranking variations

Texas Instruments maintained its strong position as the largest industrial semiconductor supplier in the world, followed by STMicroelectronics and Infineon Technologies. Both Micron Technology and ON Semiconductor both made their way into the top-10 industrial semiconductor supplier ranking list in 2014.

"Micron jumped into the top 10 last year, due to the success of their product-longevity program, which reinforced their commitment to the industrial market", said Robbie Galoso, principal analyst, IHS Technology

“Micron jumped into the top 10 last year, due to the success of their product-longevity program, which reinforced their commitment to the industrial market and leveraged the company’s 2013 acquisition of Elpida Memory,” Galoso said. “Micron’s product longevity program continued to grow quickly in 2014, which helped the company become the undisputed global industrial memory chip supplier.”

The other big mover among the top 10, On Semiconductor, was boosted by its acquisition of Aptina, a leading complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor supplier in the industrial market, which moved the merged company into tenth position in the rankings. Because both Micron and ON Semiconductor made their way into the top 10 rankings, both Maxim Integrated Products and Cree were displaced.

Strategic acquisitions to play major role

“Strategic acquisitions will continue to play a major role in shaping the overall semiconductor market rankings in key industrial semiconductor segments,” Galoso said. “Infineon and NXP will soon upgrade their positions among the top semiconductor suppliers in 2015, due to their acquisitions of International Rectifier and Freescale Semiconductor respectively.”

The combined industrial semiconductor revenues for NXP and Freescale last year would amount to $1.3 billion. A joint NXP Freescale would be ranked in sixth place, behind Analog Devices; NXP was previously ranked 16th while Freescale was ranked 17th. The combined company will catapult into the top 10 for major industrial applications, and impressive share gains will be realised -- especially in manufacturing and process automation, military and civil aerospace, power and energy and medical electronics. On the other hand, the combined Infineon International Rectifier would generate $2.3 billion in industrial semiconductor revenues, which would catapult the merged company into second place in last year’s rankings.

Among the top 10 semiconductor suppliers, nine companies achieved growth in 2014 and seven of those companies posted double-digit growth. Out of the top 10 companies, only one, Renesas Electronics, suffered a decline, as the Japanese semiconductor market and suppliers continued to struggle.

Industrial semiconductor market revenues on the upswing

Among the top 10 semiconductor suppliers, nine companies achieved growth in 2014 and seven of those companies posted double-digit growth

Optical Semiconductor delivered the strongest performance, thanks to the continued strength of the LED market. The highest semiconductor device absolute revenue growth from 2014 to 2019 will come from LEDs, which is expected to grow from $6.3 billion to $12.6 billion—stemming from the global general lighting LED lighting boom, with most countries banning incandescent bulbs in 2014. Discrete power transistors, thyristors, rectifier and power diodes are expected to grow from $6 billion to $7.3 billion, due to the policy shift toward energy efficiency. Microcontrollers (MCUs) are also expected to experience robust growth in the long-term, growing from $4.3 billion to $5.8 billion, because of advances in power efficiency and integration features.

Out of more than 27 semiconductor segments, 26 achieved increased year-over-year growth in 2014. All 7 major semiconductor components grew last year, led by optical, analog integrated circuits (ICs), logic ICs, discretes, micro component ICs, memory ICs, and sensors and actuators. Both analog ICs and logic application-specific ICs achieved the strongest turnaround in growth, moving from relatively flat growth in 2013 to over 20 percent growth last year.

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