There are plenty of economic uncertainties to go around in the global market, but despite it all, International Data Corporation believes the demand remains strong for semiconductors, particularly those used in smartphones, media tablets, and automotive electronics. By the time 2012 comes to a close, IDC predicts worldwide semiconductor revenues will have grown 4.6 percent to a healthy $315 billion. From there, IDC's crystal ball sees semiconductor revenues growing an additional 6.2 percent to $335 billion in 2013, and topping $380 billion four years from now.
"As we forecasted earlier this year, the cyclical semiconductor downturn that started in the middle of last year reached bottom in the second quarter of 2012," said Mali Venkatesan, research manager for Semiconductors at IDC. "Supply constraints on semiconductor products, such as smartphone applications processors and PC discrete graphics processors based on the most advanced process technologies, are easing as foundries are bringing more capacity online. Also, the semiconductor industry has recovered from the flooding in Thailand that held back the supply of hard drives and PCs. Leading-edge 22nm at Intel is ramping fast now, while foundries and memory companies are getting ready to move to 20nm technology node."
In what has to be music to Microsoft's ears, IDC expects the launch of Windows 8-based tablets will spur the next wave of semiconductor demand, as will increased IT spending, next generation electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, and gaming platforms), and improvements to the global economy.