The $500bn global semiconductor market is tantalisingly close. That’s the bullish forecast presented by Malcolm Penn (pictured) CEO of market research company Future Horizons. He is predicting growth a tick over 21% in 2018 taking the market to within a whisker of $500bn, well, $499.9bn to be exact.

Penn also offers a bearish alternative of 15.6% growth producing a market worth $477bn and a bullish forecast which would propel the semiconductor market to $509.5bn on a 23.5% uptick.

This optimism follows a stellar year for the industry in 2017 where sales look likely to rise by 21.8% to $412.7bn.

Penn is aghast at other forecasters who have a more pessimistic view of 2018. WSTS, the semiconductor industry’s data arm plumps for 7% growth and market research outfit Gartner is scarcely more optimistic at 7.5%.

“It’s a mathematical impossibility for the industry to grow at 10% or less this year, a normal cyclical industry slowdown wouldn’t get it below 10%” he rails.

The only limit is manufacturing capacity as IC unit sales rose 14.6% in 2017. This in turn would push up average selling prices.

“Only a complete economic disaster or a global conflict would suffocate market growth,” reckons Penn.

“2019 is too early to call, bust inevitably follows boom,” he observes. “It’s unlikely to be 20% growth again.”


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